This Photograph Is My Proof © Duane Michals
Duane Michals is a photographer and a writer. As a person who draws as much inspiration from literature as I do from photography, I find his work to be greatly inspiring. An "artist formerly known as a photographer," Michals desires to go beyond description and present through photographs how he thinks and feels about the world, not as it is seen. In this image, This Photograph Is My Proof, Michals supplies the viewer with a nostalgic image, one of a man and woman paired with the following handwritten text: "This photograph is my proof. There was that afternoon, when things were still good between us, and she embraced me, and we were so happy. It did happen, she did love me. Look, see for yourself!" I find this image and conjoining message to be deeply moving because it makes me think of myself in familiar circumstances; it takes me beyond just seeing the photograph and to actually feeling what those words mean. It is great because it has multiple layers. The photograph itself acts as a facade of happiness, while the message that Michals conveys is one of nostalgia, sadness, and doubt.
If you are interested in learning more about Duane Michals and how he feels about his work, I would highly recommend watching this video interview that can be found at: www.pixchannel.com. There are also interviews with other great photographers such as Ruth Bernhard, Arnold Newman, Jerry Uelsmann, Elliot Erwitt, and more.