A QUEENS AFFAIR Photographs by Kris Graves & Eric Hairabedian Introduction by Sergio A. Fernรกndez
+KRIS GRAVES PROJECTS
A Queens Affair is printed in an edition of 200 copies including a special collector’s edition of 100 with two original color prints. Copyright © 2010 Kris Graves Copyright © 2010 Eric Hairabedian Copyright © 2010 Carin Johnson Copyright © 2010 Sergio A. Fernández Copyright © 2010 Kris Graves Projects Used by permission. All rights reserved. Kris Graves Projects, LLC 111 Front Street #224 Brooklyn, New York 11201 Printed in Iceland by Oddi Design: Kris Graves & Sergio A. Fernández Illustration by Carin Johnson krisgravesprojects.com krisgraves.com erichairabedian.com carinisms.com sergioafernandez.com iriseditions.co.uk
The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity Walt Whitman Of Place and Time While the importance of the Place is irrevocably linked to our interest in a photograph, even in today’s digital realm, it is its link to Time that can trigger our connection to any specific aspect of a location. The mention of a Place, be it familiar to the viewer or not, carries the weight of all its cultural references, and in the case of the Borough of Queens, those implications can be as complicated as the Borough itself. A quick Internet search for “Queens” yields close to 60 million results, with a map of the Borough of Queens atop the list. With all these references, plus the many others that stem from untold personal stories, how can we begin to visually address all the elements that make up the story of Queens? Or should we even try? If, like me, you are familiar with Queens, you will start asking certain questions from this book, and would, perhaps, expect specific answers. Wrong approach. After close inspection, one can see the success of this book lays on the fact that the images seldom refer to the specificity of the location but, instead, translate its atmosphere into different questions about the pictures themselves. The images contrast one another, moving us from ambiguous to familiar settings, between constructed images and narrative documents. They may not spell Queens, but they certainly imply a tangible sense of location that is more akin to an insightful comment than a stereotype.
Much has been said about the strengths and weaknesses of documentary and directorial approaches to photography, and both camps have lobbed several salvos at each other with regards to the validity and currency of their methods. But seldom do we find both methods not only displayed together, illuminating the public and private nature of each artist’s work, but also creating questions for us, the viewers, as to how or where exactly we ought to position ourselves in order to get the best perspective of this “affair”. The selection of images contained in this book, by Mr. Graves and Mr. Hairabedian, are not intended to uncover hidden areas or reaffirm preconceptions; they are meant as an act of praise to a place they hold dear to their hearts and to the people that inhabit their everyday adventures. These images allow us to walk down streets and to enter homes, they give us fictional and real characters; we are allowed to feel the sun and to smell the food. In short, we are given tour of “their” Queens, and it is dizzying. Amidst these bedrooms, streets and lobbies, stories abound, and we are invited to discover them. These images talk to us about moments past, present relations and possible future locations; they talk to us about our Time, and invite us to fill in the blanks between places and characters. These are not pictures of vone place; these are images of a Place in Time. -Sergio A. Fernández