Eyes of Artists

Hannah Smith Allen

Posted in photographers by Corey Presha on March 1, 2009

– I took a History of Photography class with Hannah last year at Rockland Community College. She had just finished her MFA at the School of Visual Arts and was a wonderful teacher, I learned a lot in her class. These photos are from her series The Battle of Monmouth, where she tries to create a photographic history for an event that predates the invention of photography.

Today the Battle of Monmouth exists in fragments. State boundaries arbitrarily delineate battleground from suburban farmland. Indeed, much of the history is buried under years of farming and industrialization. Still, in our attempts to understand the past, we mark the land create and create narrative out of experience. Even though history disappears into the present, we try to locate the historic in an empty field, a replicated object, or an illegible text.

These images represent a new photographic archive that attempts to describe an event predating the invention of photography. My photographs do not depict a single historic narrative. Instead, they uncover a series of fragments that suggest the limits and possibilites of historic meaning. In the end, history reveals via our interpretive choices who we are today as well as who we were in the past. Despite out inability to uncover a single truth, it is still important to examine how stories get told.


© Hannah Smith Allen
See more work here.

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