New Work, We The PeopleJuly 5, 2016
We The People:
The Timothy Clark Story.
This is a story about an individual that was a victim of a hate crime, it’s intent is to make his story public, and put into discussion the American Narrative. His story is unique, however not to the history of bigotry and racism in this country. This series is meant to spark the question that is obvious to some but not to others. What has changed since the Emancipation Proclamation? What has changed since the Declaration of Independence or first Constitution? Why after so much struggle does this country remain at a stand still on how “some” see people that are different than they are with such negativity. This story tells us about the night of the attempted murder of a black man Timothy Clark by multiple white men. The quick apprehension, trial and sentencing of only one the men. The consequences of the courts lack of justice and the determination for Tim to succeed and not remain a victim.
The meaning of the work it’s not just about one thing. It’s to get people talking and questioning themselves, to others, to make people open their eyes a bit wider. To get Timothy some Justice, and to start a dialog about the American Narrative. The 160 year old photo process that I chose to use to make the set and the connection to the civil war. The particulars of each image, seeing beauty in the flag but not being able to look past the scars and portrait. One is forced to question themselves in some way. Even if they don’t like it. To identify, to sympathize, and see yourself in the work in some ways is my goal. The date of release, July 4th is symbolic. I felt that within the celebration of “our” countries independence, we look at where we can improve on our definition of equal rights. That we might see this so called independence has been held back for some. This needs to change.
“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.”
On October 30th, 2015, in Palmdale, C.A., a group of five people at a Halloween party that Tim was leaving attacked, stabbed and beat him. Tim was stabbed in the chest, puncturing his left lung, from one that came from behind. The man stabbed his right bicep, dragging the knife down and around his arm while calling him racial names. The aftermath resulted in Tim almost losing his right arm, loosing much of it’s function. He’s still shooting photography with his other arm even though he’s right handed. over $300K in medical fees, only $200 a month from disability. The man that stabbed Tim was caught and put to trial. The other four were not pursued. They did not charge him with a hate crime and sentenced him in a speedy trial to nine years. As we all can guess, this did not go well for Tim. This felon will likely not serve the whole nine years if he behaves. He showed no remorse what so ever when Tim was allowed to confront him in the court room. Tim has moved from the area and is trying to move forward.
Having known Tim for a while and doing multiple shoots with him in the past this was just shocking and saddening to me. I felt Tim was the kind of guy that was not jaded by his experience. But continued to ask the right questions. I felt passionately about making a series of work that would tell his story visually. The images were created with a process invented in 1851 by Frederick Scott Archer called Wet Collodion Process. Every image is made by hand. Created in the same fashion as they once did so many years so on tin or glass plates. This process was mostly used during the civil war. I felt bringing this technique into the story of Tim was very much what was needed to tie both times in our history together. Both a modern work with a modern narrative, however in making collodion plates that also give the none photoshopped old civil war look to the portraits invite us to think about the past and how this story has continued for many, many years. How what is happening now to people like Tim, is in fact taking us back to the past, not moving us forward.
There is so much that can be written here. I hope you will forgive my lack of writing skills and enjoy my visual. The eye of this artist is not always complimented by the written so please continue to visit the site and follow the ongoing updates to this piece. Till then please tell Tim’s story, show the work. Change this nation for the better. It starts with education to those that might end up hating some one else because there skin color is different or they have another language, or religion. Embracing these changes is one step needed for our country to continue thriving forward and thrive. As I wrap up this version of my story I hear the evening fireworks all around town. I can’t help but feel our success as a nation is bitter sweet and our pride some what presumptuous in all the celebration. We cannot rest on yesterdays achievements or stay in a one sided view of the county only told by the ruling class.
Onto the imagery.
1 - First image shows the strength in his face as I realized his determination to live the American dream and be happy. You can even try to kill me but I will still live well. I did not see this until I was ready to take the shot. He still can’t understand why they would want to do what they did. However proud with this modern flag the past is doomed to repeat itself. There is both pride and
2 - One of men came from behind and stabbed him in the chest before he fell to the ground. Wrapped in the American flag and the dream of prosperity.
3 - Once he was beaten by them one man, the only man convicted took the knife and dragged it down his arm. A vicious, hate crime. His arm was almost amputated. They took a vein from his back leg to connect the artery and save the arm.
4 - This image attempts to bring in further the viewer. So that they may place themselves in his story. Without a face. It’s not about him anymore.
5 - This last image is about the ongoing American narrative. For all the other stories to be told or that have not been told. The immigrant, the person of color, and
the American struggle. This opens the door for others to tell their story.
NOTE: Since Tim is still in intensive therapy to gain use of his right arm (his good arm) there has been a go fund me page created to help him stay above water and pay rent. With only $200 a month from disability it’s not even enough to be a homeless person.
His gofundme page is here:https://www.gofundme.com/helptmcfoto