During his six-month stay in Germany, photographer Jack Sorokin was drawn to a mid-century photograph he found in a second hand store. This image led him into an unconventional investigation, spanning eight decades and three countries. Through the collecting of historical documents, timeworn photographs, and journaling and photography of his own, Jack Sorokin produced a book that chronicles his exploration and simultaneously leads the viewer on an investigation of their own.
Sorokin was oddly compelled by the enchanting and repulsive image he discovered in that second hand store. The German word “Bammelbegierde” meaning ‘inexorable attraction to something you fear or find unpleasant’ is pertinent to the dark themes of unease, secrecy, and the imbalance of personal relationships present in this book.
Jack Sorokin’s role as investigator relates to another underlying theme in the work: contextual ambiguity- since he was both unfamiliar with the histories he dug up, and the cultural context in which they existed. However it is through this ambiguity that both Sorokin and the viewer experience a compulsion to create associations between the articles presented.
In the end it is these associations that give meaning to the work, not in fact the true histories of the photographs or of the people represented there. Bammelbegierde, in turn, is not as much an investigation of a specific narrative, but rather an insight into the instinct to create clarity where there is only darkness.
Anywhere Particular Published June 09, 2014