Canadian (born in U.S.A.), b. 1947
Untitled, from the series The Mirror, The Hammer & The Stage, 1989
silver print on paper
106.8 x 147.2 cm Image: 76.2 x 111 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from The Winnipeg Foundation
Connected to and commenting on the long tradition of social documentary photography, this piece is indicative of Donigan Cumming’s work from the 1980s. During this period the artist asked various people (generally those living on a marginal or fixed income), from the area where Cumming’s Montreal studio was located, if he could photograph them in their domestic environments. This particular work offers an intimate and almost exploitative view of an elderly couple’s private interior and relationship. However, unlike an authentic documentary photograph, the models chose to pose for the artist. Shifting between the portrait, still life, and turn-of-the-century tableau, Cumming’s images of people at physical odds invite contemplative and highly emotive readings.