For more than 25 years, Jeffrey Wolin has combined photographic portraiture with handwritten text, exploring issues about memory and identity. Beginning in 1985, Wolin turned the camera on himself, writing personal stories directly on photographs that related to his life. Soon after, he began photographing residents of Pigeon Hill, a low-income area in his hometown, Bloomington, Indiana. Since then, he has worked with Holocaust survivors, his two sons and Vietnam Vets, combining portrait and personal histories written on the photographic surface. But in 2010, when reading an article in the local paper about a murder, Wolin realized he had photographed the victim on the Hill decades prior – it was then that he decided to find the people he had met in Pigeon Hill, and continue their stories.
Pigeon Hill: Then & Now features a selection of people Wolin worked with from 1987-91. Through Internet searches, word of mouth and visits to the housing complex, Wolin found dozens of people who posed for him when they were young. Now adults, Wolin showed them the original photograph, and asked them to recall that day, and reflect upon how their lives have changed. These memories are written directly on the photograph, and are presented as a diptych alongside a recent portrait Wolin made, with accompanying text.
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