When it comes to critical theory and influential texts, I was reading and thinking a lot about object-hood and the alienating Other found in photography, especially in portraiture....my photos of the backs of heads...are sort of "anybody portraits," where the viewer is not an Other but left to their own imagination of the central idea of a portrait, which is “What does the face look like?”
the other questions that are primary in his work are ones that i think are at the crux of the relationship between photographers and viewers--and crucial for us to ask each other. why is the artist offering me these images? (and why in this narrative order?) what do i see when i see them? (and what does it all mean?) to find the answers, we have to grapple with the sticky question of the 'author' and authorial intention. does the perspective or identity of the author trump the interpretation of the viewer? or, does the viewer's ultimate interpretation of the 'text' make the photographer's original intent irrelevant? no matter where your feelings fall on this spectrum, these questions come up again and again in visual art, as in literature.
Sam Falls' response seems to be to reject ironic abstraction in his aproach and try to make work that is as personally meaningful as possible. (emphasis on the 'personally.') i'll end with his take on these questions:
I think art is really valuable when the viewer gets to know the artist and where they are coming from. This is where a photographer must relate their subjectivity to the viewer through content and composition. This is perhaps why I've really begun leaning toward photographing the people, places, and things that hold lasting personal value to me. I used to think this was something reserved for amateur photography and photo albums, but now perhaps it needs to be reinstated in a fine art context in today’s image-based world where meaningless images are omnipresent. I mean any advertisement created by a nameless photographer of a model casting a blank stare away from the camera just tells the viewer "I don't care," and I think just saying, "This is what I care about, and you have things you care about," is now a very interesting concept to me.