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Current time:0:00Total duration:2:47

Carrie Mae Weems on her series "From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried"

Video transcript

- [voiceover] Carrie Mae Weems discusses her 1995 to '96 photography series From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried. (sad music) - [voiceover] Power and sex, they control so much of our lives. I spent a great deal of time looking at questions of race and gender and out of that came this piece From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried. You have this narrative that runs across the entire work, images that lay out a very specific development of history, of photographic history in the United States and of black history in the United States. They're all of the most part black and white photographs. I used a monochrome red, I placed mats over the top of them to obscure certain (mumbling), I add text on glass in order to also distance the original photograph and make clear this was something that was taken from something else, this was lifted. (sad music) The thing that I'd learned to do that if I paid attention to a pattern of repetition, that simple refrain of you became, you became, you became, or ha, ha, ha. (sad music) So there's three narratives that are working simultaneously and then the individual photographs for the most part stand alone as individual units. A narrative like you became a scientific profile, a negroid type, an anthropological debate, a photographic subject. They're all of these sort of singular moments that go on to make a more complex story. I suppose in a way it's like a film, the way in which film functions. (sad music) It doesn't have a single note, but it has many, it has notes of complication and duplicity and complicity. I love the rhythm of the text that's created that allows for the image to be amplified. (sad music)