Home Sick by Nicole Dube features a selection of found photographs taken between 1920 – 1970. They range from formal portraits to casual snapshots.
Common themes in these photos illustrate that we have more in common than our present condition would imply. They represent our collective history and document our shared experience during the 20th century.
“We all die twice- once when we actually die and once when no one on earth recognizes our photograph” -Christian Boltanski
Boltanski’s theory offers each of us a second life as a memory captured through a photograph. Many of the unknown faces in these found photos have exhausted their first lives. Now, they live out their second lives as memories.
Because they have been separated from their owners, these photos are considered orphan works.
If the original photographer cannot be identified, a found photo created in the U.S. after 1923 is considered an orphan work, and has special copyright protections. In 2015, the U.S. Copyright Office explored alternative approaches to managing orphan work. Their report summarized the dilemma.
“By foregoing use of these works, a significant part of the world’s cultural heritage may not be exploited and may therefore fall into a ‘20th century digital black hole.’”
The predicament of orphan work prevents us from reaching back and referencing documents of our past without fear of reprisal. If we deny these memories the full enjoyment of their second lives, we become orphans untethered from our past.
Plan Your Visit
Date: October 30, 2020 – February 21, 2021
Venue: DeSoto Family Vault
Exhibiting Artist: Nicole Dube
Dube is a portrait photographer based out of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Strong, cinematic women are often her subjects, with her own conceptual themes threaded throughout her images. She strives photos that are intentionally beautiful and well executed, but psychologically “off”, or challenging for the viewer in some way.