Human Interest
Audio Guide Playlist

Listen to commentary by artists and scholars on selected works in Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection, including Thelma Golden, K8 Hardy, Byron Kim, Deana Lawson, and Joan Semmel.


Narrator: This work comes from a series of photographs that K8 Hardy made using herself as a model. Some of the images in the series are deliberately ordinary, even banal. But here, Hardy’s makeup and costume are fantastical. She’s also used a technique developed in the early twentieth century to manipulate the print, covering part of the photo paper during the exposure to make it look like she was wearing a cartoonish bow. The resulting type of print is known as a photogram.

K8 Hardy: In the darkroom I use the photogram to take you a little bit out of the photo.

Narrator: K8 Hardy.

K8 Hardy: Sometimes the photo is too slippery and too real, so I would just do something in the darkroom to pop the viewer out of the belief in the photo and into the construction.

In the beginning I was so resistant to calling them self-portraits, because that implies that my story's in there somewhere or that I'm describing myself. But I wasn't really thinking about myself when I was taking them. It's a feminist tactic to use your own body and also to approach this subject matter of the female body and of objectification. I just wanted to keep that simple and use myself.


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