During this podcast we talk about two bodies of work from Bowman: Here Now, in which she explores landscapes of historical significance in the U.S., monuments and artifacts found in museums and public spaces, all in an effort to investigate the histories of people left out of the grand historical narratives that we are more familiar The other body of work that we talk about is, What Had Happened, Bowman returns to where she grew up (the Baldwin Hills, Inglewood, and Crenshaw neighborhoods of Los Angeles, CA), opening her own history to ask questions about the role location and landscape play in personal evolution. With a particular interest in Black Baby Boomers and The Great Migration, which refers to the movement or relocation of more than 6 million African Americans from the rural South to the cities of the North, Midwest and West from about 1916 to 1970
Bowman’s work investigates the histories of people left out of the grand historical narratives with which we are more familiar. Previous to this project, she photographed monuments, artifacts of antiquity, and landscapes of historical significance in the U.S. In What Had Happened, Bowman returns to where she grew up (the Baldwin Hills, Inglewood, and Crenshaw neighborhoods of Los Angeles, CA), opening her own history to ask questions about the role location and landscape play in personal evolution.
The images recall the events, objects, and sites that mold us in order to explore themes of displacement, family history, and notions of home. Bowman asks how we remember what has marked us in a place we once called home and how that place informs who we are in the present.
Memories of place are nuanced, emotional, atmospheric, historical, and geographical; when we return to these sites they are never exactly as remembered and fail to fully complete the retelling of history.
In these photographs the passing of time reveals itself in the shadows drifting over a backyard, in a carpeted staircase worn by years of feet treading its fibers, in the shifting earth cracking the sidewalk that lays over it. The double exposures and repeated imagery draw attention to the way that time alters our perception of locations. Collectively the images render parts of ourselves and the place we once called home lost to time.
Dannielle Bowman received a BFA from The Cooper Union and an MFA from the Yale School of Art, where she was awarded the 2018 Richard Benson Prize. She was recently awarded the 2020 Aperture Portfolio Prize and was a contributor to the New York Times Magazine's 1619 Project. Bowman has been an artist in residence at Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York; The Center for Photography at Woodstock; and PICTURE BERLIN.
Thumbnail Image: ©Kathy Ryan