July 21, 2020

Can photographs unsettle the mind more than audio, video and the written word?

Kristoffer McKeown, 44

Art has a profound track record in causing the viewer, reader or listener to be unsettled. However, I find photography to be an underrated medium in provoking unease in comparison to film, literature and music. My poem and the accompanying photo in the entry are interested in the idea of a photo telling a story by what is outside the frame and off the page. What is happening or has occurred beyond the border? It is undeniable that finding a photo portraying something unusual and disturbing by yourself is more unsettling than someone handing it to you. There is no context, other than something beyond your comprehension has taken place. I want them to make a puzzle and not solve it, for which there is no right or wrong answer. I want the reader to see imagery that concocts more fearsome sights than what is on the page. My art strives to give the recipient something my mortal hands cannot create, their own horror. For that is the most unsettling art of all – that which cannot be witnessed by anyone other than the mind in which it inhabits.

Bloodied Polaroids, 2020Poetry and photography