Janice Levy Statement

Artist Statement

Distance, both physical and emotional, from something once familiar but never really owned, provides a compelling perspective from which to work. Out of Place comes from that region of intellect. It is an expression of my own examination of what it is like to return to a place that has been thoroughly explored and yet remains totally foreign.

It was 2001, and I was in Madagascar again. Five years had passed since I last photographed the people and places of the great red island. Much had changed. Madagascar had been besieged by an aesthetic sensibility heavily influenced by a newly emerging global economy. A country I had thoroughly explored in five previous visits was now foreign to me. The color photographs I was taking were completely different from the black-and-white documentary images I had made earlier.
Out of Place embodies the feeling of being both insider and outsider – and the uneasy excitement that results from that tenuous state. A sense of reality breaks down; inanimate objects appear full of life and personality, and sometimes humor; figure ground relationships distort; and cultural markers become parody.

In my experience, atypical representations of the developing world are rare and refreshing. In addition to showing more viewers a Madagascar they might not have imagined, the objects in Out of Place have a universal element that transcends locale. Perhaps, by examining the world presented here, observers will be inspired to reexamine their own surroundings.

Process Statement
The images on this website appear as they were made. None have been cropped or digitally manipulated. I took the photographs between mid-January and mid-July 2001 with a Mamiya 7II camera using Kodak Portra 120 VC film

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