Susannah Slocum’s practice
is concentrated on photographic portraiture with a personalized
twist. Her formally straightforward images depict people
who share something that is not immediately apparent. Are
they a group or fierce individualists? A series of pictures
depicting solitary hip young people, for example, finds
a pervasive fashion aesthetic, yet the actual linkage relates
to something closer to the skin. Another series finds the
artist looking for a connection between a group of men
based on their given first name, Bruce.
The internet is one method Slocum uses
to find her subject, though as a communication of our
age, it provides only a disembodied sense of connection.
This web-based strategy is something that contemporary
photographers face as a challenge to use effectively.
Slocum manages the challenge with an approach that exudes
a dry wit and a curious sense of yearning, using it as
a way to understand that elusive thing called the human
condition. These are not pictures that are warm and fuzzy,
but neither are they the fashionably cool, ambiguously
formal portraits where the faces are inscrutable. Slocum’s
interest in ambiguity is grounded in the ways people
compose themselves and what they communicate about themselves
subconsciously. It’s rich terrain, and Slocum mines
it with an original, unerring eye.