Friday, June 20, 2008

subject echo: hair in branches

lately i have noticed a lot of ladies with their hair tied up in branches. it makes for pretty, romantic images. and perhaps it makes for thinking about girls, gender and long hair, nature, ties, and other metaphorical tangles. but what is it all about?

Julia Fuller-Batten's work (above, middle) is all about adolescent girls, so it would make sense to me if Hellen van Meene (top) were an influence. and Steffanie Halley, recently featured on Conscientious, is a recent SCAD grad whose project places women in the natural landscape... another theme we've seen a lot of lately.

my personal instinct would be that the bottom two are echoes—conscious or subconscious—that serve as aftershocks to the power of van Meene's image.

however, one commenter on Shoot! said that the second image above is a "direct reference" to Harry Callahan. is this true? if so, he would have set the trend off then, maybe even 50 years ago. but i am skeptical. i've seen Eleanor's hair, spreading out wet and stringlike. i've seen Eleanor's face, superimposed over grasses and branches. but i don't know an image of Eleanor's hair tied up into branches.

anyone care to school me? (or the commenter?) or share any other thoughts on this theme?

p.s. reader Suzanne's comment (below) is so right on—i definitely think that Sally Mann's "Yard Eggs" is another major influence here. the composition (and symbolism) is a little more complex than the three above, but the hair getting caught in the branches is definitely a punctum. it made me realize i've seen this image online, but not sure i have seen a print of it. the resolution of the jpeg is a bit soft, and i would love to see the detail better, especially in how the hair is caught (and not just blowing). thanks Suzanne!


Suzanne Revy said...

Like you, I can't think of any Eleanor photographs with her hair in branches.

There is one from Sally Mann, I believe. Jessie (or was it Virginia?) holding a hat of eggs leaning into a a bush with her hair spread out into the plant...

Ian Aleksander Adams said...

I thought the same thing when I saw that last photograph down here at scad, and was trying to figure out if it was a conscious reference.

Frank van Eykelen said...

Here's a photo of singer Jenny Lewis with her hair in branches by an unidentified photographer: