Joey Solomon describes his photographs as portraits featuring both “joyful queer expression” and “a deep well of despair.” Solomon’s prescription antidepressants and his hospitalizations inform his “disuse of color to focus on a monochrome world of foggy limbo, suspending reality in each frame on purpose, focusing on questioning form.” Part of his A Racket of Echoes series, Solomon’s hospital portraits document his experience of surviving a pelvic tumor. Ann Catherine Hughes, in Musée, writes that these photographs “kept Solomon emotionally grounded during a distressing time. For him, these pictures were meant to erase the taboos surrounding death and mental illness and in turn, also erases taboos around physical illness and disability.” While most of Spence’s hospital photos seem to be taken on the fly, Solomon’s photos are infused with both an elegant and raw reality. This contrast shows there are various ways to capture the subjective experience of a hospital setting and of the medicalized body.
About This Site
A Picture of Health: Jo Spence, a Politics of Disability and Illness is a multi-pronged project curated by Kenny Fries and Elisabeth Frost.
In 1986 the British artist, educator, and activist Jo Spence (1934-1992) described the question fundamental to her work: “how to represent a body in crisis.” Spence’s work reveals powerful political and artistic responses to the experience of inhabiting such a body and is as timely as ever. This website places her work in the context of the lived experience of chronic illness and of contemporary Disability Arts.