Anna Prilutskaya. Dear Jeff

Dear Jeff!

Thank you for reading my letter, I'm really looking forward to your reply. Dan wrote me that you couldn't answer because you were away. Despite this, we worked together on my photograph. This picture waited for your look and you shared it by reading the letter, looking at the photo. Your look filled the empty space that I left beside me. This is your picture and my picture put together with inverted roles: I was behind the camera, and you looked at the scene, creating a reconstruction behind the picture plane. Our place in / behind the photograph is the place of the observers, invisible to the sitter, hidden by Gesell's mirror. The one under observation remained in the state of watching himself, having given his consent, forever posing for this photograph. Each instance of the photo is fixed on video, exposed for everyone by the bright light which gave the possibility for the photograph to manifest itself.

Any other viewer could not finish this shot.

I wrote a postal letter and an e-mail to Jeff Wall. Jeff received the letters and saw my picture in them. I was reported about that fact by his colleague Dan.

Jeff Wall is a Canadian photographer who works with large-format color prints which are exhibited on walls in lightboxes. Jeff scrupulously studies the history of art, decomposes the elements that make up the nature of photography. He is interested in the reconstruction in photography, its ability to transform the image into a document. Often Jeff acts as a director, creating replicas of places that then turn into the document itself, inviting actors to participate in the shooting in which people are drawn into the routine of a multi-day process so that it turns into their usual activity. Jeff turns the very concept of reporting upside down, the key aspects of his work being the reconstruction, installation, cinematography. The lightbox is characteristic of advertising photography. Jeff uses it in large sizes in his work, thus the photos acquire the painterly look, referring to the large canvases of painters.

One of Jeff Wall's early works "Picture for Women" was made as a response to Édouard Manet's work "A Bar at the Folies-Bergère". Wall used the structure of Manet's painting for his photo, analyzing the role of the model, the photographer, the camera, the moment of creating the image and the place of the beholder. The photo is made out of two prints placed right next to each other with a thin seam in the middle of the picture, which continuously brings the viewer's attention to the surface and materiality of the image. Now the photograph is part of the collection of the Pompidou Centre.