In a way I think of myself as playing with documentary and fiction, and my photos as movies. A kind of crude prose poem, an essay, meandering… But I always imagine the photo is not as it seems, that obliquely it's about something else entirely. I play, too, in the moment with whatever I'm shooting, and with the crude consumer materials I usually choose.
Tom Jarmusch’s photographs tell a story of time spent in New York City over the past few years. Captured on both analog film and digital, objects and their affects become characters on the streets as much as the people who might have placed them there. Arriving through Jarmusch’s images, it is in these very moments that the city constantly transforms itself, and tells us about itself. A surfboard is found on the sidewalk, out of place and as grimy as its surroundings, seeming to make its way along like a pedestrian. Much like these objects have arrived on the streets, we do as well. Jarmusch’s photographs speak to this double process, in which we are made by our surroundings just as we might change them.
Jarmusch’s street-level vision carries with it the radiant sense of connection that moving through the city brings, even in moments of desolation or dissolution, and especially in those of strangeness. At once precise, loose, and formal, these photographs bestow direct and intimate moments, and doing so they are familiar and to be shared. Words and their sounds appear throughout as well (“mmm…”), and in these instances it seems that the city adds its own response. Perhaps describing the state of time during which these works were shot, the word DREAM materializes twice. First, in a hazy, black and white interior shot—one of two self-portraits. Next, across the jacket of a figure with his back turned: “It was all a dream.”
Tom Jarmusch is a filmmaker and artist working across video, film, installation, and photography. His work has been shown internationally at venues and festivals including Anthology Film Archives, Spring Break Art Fair, New York Underground Film Festival, Cinema Texas, Rotterdam International Film Festival, BBC Short Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival, Paris Underground Film Festival, Rencontre Internationales Paris/Berlin, Media City, and Chicago Underground Film Festival, among others. Jarmusch’s first feature SOMETIMES CITY (2011), a feature documentary portrait of Cleveland, won the prize for Experimental Documentary at the Greenpoint Film Festival (2012). With James Nares and Fabienne Gautier, he created the video for Phil Kline’s opera INTO THE FIRE (2001). Jarmusch has also appeared as an actor in movies by Tom DiCillo (JOHNNY SUEDE, 1991 and LIVING IN OBLIVION, 1995), Raul Ruiz (THE GOLDEN BOAT, 1990), Cinque Lee (U R FORGIVEN, 2004), Jinoh Park (SHOULD HAVE KISSED, 2010), Harris Smith (MODERN YOUNG MAN, 1999). Jarmusch lives and works in New York City.
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