"I have questions in my mind that I pursue."
Joyce Crago grew up on a farm in southwestern Ontario. In 2014, she made a mid-career change of profession from law to photography. Her motivations to understand situations and issues and, in particular, injustices, which encouraged her to study law, continue to motivate her behind a camera. Where words prove inadequate, photography now provides the means to explore her concerns about contemporary society. Her images are produced intuitively using both digital and large format film cameras. Crago recently completed her studies at the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa.
Winner of Canadian Applied Arts Award 2015, 2016
Why, in our contemporary society, throw-away society, are the discarded objects, the garbage, often the most sublimely beautiful? How easy is it to ignore the trash thrown into the garbage bin? In telling the story of what is thrown away, Crago wants to explore the overlooked parts of our surroundings. Another question that was raised by this body of work, as she began to work on it, is why would important Canadian arts organizations, dedicated to nurturing Canadian arts and artists, deny access to their garbage? What does it say about an arts organization that they feel the need to edit their garbage? For example, the Art Bank stated:
"I love what you are doing but with reservations in regards to Art Bank garbage. Anyone reading this would assume the artworks are garbage (contemporary art is a challenge to many) and not the detritus of framing, eating etc. please consider another opportunity."
The still-life compositions are created out of garbage from various locations including the Canada Council Art Bank in Ottawa, the Pace MacGill Gallery in NYC, and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.
Series: What does it mean to be male in 2016?
What does it mean to be male in 2016? is a series of portraits of males. They are photographed topless for two reasons: Crago sees them as being vulnerable and she sees males as a sex as being somewhat lost in terms of answering the question of what it means to be male. There has never been a male equivalent to a Betty Friedan or a Gloria Steinem — powerful feminists who were instrumental in talking about what it means to be female. The second reason is that in art history females have typically posed nude for male eyes and males have typically posed in important costumes to show their importance in society.