Iris Vitiello & Jolee Benard Email:
Instagram: @joleebenard
instagram: @irisvitiello

As our relationship with the medium of photography has progressed we have
become increasingly aware of the voyeuristic exhilaration that comes along with viewing something that you are not meant to see. This is a universal feeling, but it is exclusive to the medium of photography and particularly exciting in today’s overly saturated economy of images where a surprising image is hard to come by.

Acquiring our downstairs neighbor’s collection of keepsakes, snapshots, and
other personal artifacts became the perfect invitation for us to explore these thoughts, and to better understand how photos and images become memorabilia and warp our understanding of time, sense of self, and the concept of truth. It is a daunting task, and at times the material feels too intense. The project has moved away from the specificity of our neighbor’s life or belongings and has become a way for us to view our own image histories as if we didn't know ourselves while focusing on the physical signifiers of keepsakes which make them universally understandable and alert the viewer that they are seeing something which doesn't belong to them.

For us the project has become a lot about process and the ways in which we have been able to work through the material. Both of
us have taken our own slightly different approaches to the subject. In one approach,
we aim to create a type of shared history between ourselves and our neighbor by physically combining materials that have
come to represent our lives and his. The result is a physical collage that references the physical nature of our neighbor's belongings. These new artifacts compress time and emphasize the information that is left out of all of the chosen images and letters, calling to question how much information was really there in the first place. Alongside the woven compositions are more macro photographs isolating details of keepsakes which highlight the image’s function outside of art. These moments of intersection of the functional, personal, universal, and aesthetic become humorous and beautiful while always reminding us that we never really know what we are looking at.