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THEORY: "Street Fare: The Photography of Philip-Lorca Dicorcia" (1999)


While people may be the main subject of these pictures, it's the lighting that keeps you entranced. Sun shines in most of them, but the shadows seldom correspond to its position. Electronic flash illumination provides the unexpected shadows as well as unexpected highlights. By hanging his flash lights on lamp poles and street signs, hidden high and outside the field of view, diCorcia ensures that his relation to the subject is indirect. He sets up his camera nearby and waits for his unsuspecting actors to perform. Few of his principal subjects seem aware that they are the centers of lenticular attention, which then serves to deflect the viewer's awareness of the photographer's presence. As a result, we are left with images that draw attention to themselves but not their maker. Just as in Mario, 1978, diCorcia's well-known picture of a man staring bleakly into the glowing maw of an open refrigerator, cinematographic artifice and still photography's documentary tradition merge into a simulation of intervention-free veracity.


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