Friday, February 26, 2010

Land of tears

It is such a secret place, the land of tears.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

In her 2004 solo exhibition at the White Cube Gallery in London, Sam Taylor-Wood included a series of poignant photographs of actors (mostly A-list, and nearly all, the rugged, masculine variety) awash in tears. Those photographs evolved into an art book with the title, Crying Men. Photography and film are rooted in physical reality and more than other art forms, document the specifics of a time, a place or even an emotion. Sadness and suffering are uniquely private; we can sympathize or empathize, but we can't know another persons pain. Although men are generally conditioned to hide their grief, the gifted actors photographed can emote without any self-consciousness. Are their tears real? Maybe not, but it's okay to stare.

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