3 May - 3 June 2012
Jarret Schecter presents a body of work based on the theme of his latest book ‘Anonymity’ (Trolley Books, 2011.) The images are taken all over the world and across all continents, from the snowy planes of Siberia on the Trans-Siberian Railroad to the arid deserts and refugee camps of eastern Africa, and the stark contrast of a burgeoning new metropolis in China to a crumbling street in Cuba. But these are not pure landscapes in this sense; in each scene there inhabits a person or a figure, sometimes hidden or disguised from the viewer, but cumulatively the series generates an overall presence of the unknown person.
They are not portraits or even street scenes, the person is always slightly remote, although engaging us within the image. This theme ‘anonymity’ seeks to address a universal recognition in the unknown figure, strangers in the street, people who we might have even met or feel an empathy with, and those who we will never know. One of the aims of this presentation is to bring attention to the NGO Schecter is Vice President of ‘The Denan Project’, whose mission is to bring aid to Denan and Ethiopia in East Africa, and to other impoverished regions around the world. The anonymous figures and people we meet in his photographs therefore become the faceless people who we might never meet but who we can engage with through these images, their anonymity becoming also paradoxically, a universal recognition. People who feel at once familiar but distant, offer us a glimpse of something to relate to or recognise, amidst an alienating feeling of an unfamiliar territory.
As Schecter writes: “Alone or in a crowd in either a modern or a primitive context, the word anonymity is associated with both freedom and anxiety. It is both loved and hated, with a symbiotic tension within the concept of recognition. Being so close and omnipresent we paradoxically are rarely directly self-conscious of our own anonymity. However, as a source of both art and anxiety, we are often conscious of seeing the anonymity of others, which eerily and somehow largely unwittingly, resembles our own. Uncannily, ‘anonymity’ is never alone, as it must be accompanied by actor and context. The following photographs are about the relationship between anonymity, actor and context, but perhaps even more, it is about the reciprocal relationship between perceiver and the perceived.”
Jarret Schecter first purchased a Pentax camera in 1990, and so began a concerned passion to travel the world whilst committed to socio-political issues. Schecter believes that photography can bring awareness to social injustices the world faces today. He has published several books with Trolley highlighting these issues: ‘Hermanovce’ (2003) showed us a year living with the Roma people, ‘Journey In Sight’ (2005) focussed on the work of the NGO Orbis, delivering eye healthcare around the world, ‘Displaced in Denan’ (2005) showed the medial aid and refugee camps in Denan, east Africa, whilst in the developed world ‘Katrina’ (2008) showed us the personal objects visible after the hurricane in New Orleans had subsided leaving tragedy in its wake. An avid traveller he completed two books on rail travel ‘America Off Track’ (2008) and ‘Russia Off Track’ (2010) and Paris in ‘Stalking Paris’ (2009).
The Denan Project, is a nonprofit, grassroots organization whose volunteer members secure the necessary resources to provide free medical care, potable water, agricultural training, education, and other critical services for the people of Denan, Ethiopia and the surrounding villages, and to other impoverished communities in the developing world. Building on the strength of its volunteers and donors, the Project has expanded into Burkina Faso, Peru, and Mongolia from its inception in Denan, Ethiopia in 2004. Working with regional government and nongovernmental agencies, its ultimate goal is to make specific communities in these areas self-reliant by developing and implementing long-term, sustainable solutions. Schecter, born in 1963, lives and works in New York City.