Joel Sternfeld photographed a series of 50 images of landscapes with each image making them look quite peaceful and serene. All the photographs in On This Site: Landscape in Memoriam are photographs of places where a tragedy had happen or taken place, for example a murder. He described these set of images as
“list of places [he] cannot forget because of the tragedies that identify them.”
All these photographs are very interesting as when you first look at them you wouldn’t ever think something tragic has happened at that particular scene until you read the text that goes with the image.
In 1953, Hooker Chemical covered the then-dry Love Canal with a thin layer of dirt, and sold it to the Niagara Falls Board of Education for one dollar. The terms of the sale stipulated that if anyone incurred physical harm or death because of the buried waste, Hooker could not be held liable.
David Gelernter, director of computer studies at Yale University and an advocate of the joining of
computer sciences with the humanities, was maimed when a packaged bomb exploded in his fifth floor
office in Watson Hall on June 24, 1993.
Since 1978, at least three people associated with advanced technology have been killed and twenty-three
others injured by bombs sent and placed by a person known as the Unabomber, whose writings express
a hatred of technology and fear of its global effects.
Kitty Genovese was repeatedly stabbed outside her apartment in the early morning hours of March 13,
1964. Thirty-eight people heard her cries for help. Although the attack lasted over half an hour, not a
single person called the police until after she had died.
The Happy Land Social Club was a popular, unlicensed Honduran social club. On March 25, 1990,
Julio Gonzalez was thrown out of the club for quarreling with Lydia Feliciano, his former girlfriend
and a Happy Land employee. He bought a dollar’s worth of gasoline, poured a trail of gas from the
street through the club’s single doorway, ignited it, and left. The fire killed eighty-seven people. Lydia
Feliciano was one of five survivors.
Yetta M. Adams froze to death sitting upright in this bus shelter across from the Department of Housing
and Urban Development in Washington, D.C ., on November 29, 1993. The forty-three-year-old mother
of three grown children had reportedly been turned away from a homeless shelter the night before.
After looking at this body of work it has made me think within my project I could photograph people who have serious illness’ or take a vast range of medication every single day but by taking one portrait of them no one would know, no one would be able to tell if there was anything wrong with them unless it showed physically. This weekend I have been photographing people around my halls who have medical problems which results in them taking medication to help treat them. But by just looking at their portrait you wouldn’t be able to tell. This isn’t as extreme as the work by Sternfeld but I believe it is quite an interesting concept to try out.