Sarah Sudhoff: At the Hour of Our Death

In support of this year’s New Works Photography Fellowship Award Exhibition and to share the work of this year’s photographers with the online community, En Foco partners with juror and FlakPhoto.com creator Andy Adams to highlight their work in a series of  blog posts. For more information, preview the exhibition catalog. Part 4 of 5.

Sudhoff_SuicideGunMale

Suicide with Gun, Male, 40 years old (II), At the Hour of Our Death series, 2010 © Sarah Sudhoff

One of photography’s distinctive qualities is its ability to reveal subjects that are invisible to the eye. But carefully considered images can also make visible ideas that we find difficult to think about or discuss. Dying, for example, is an act that is frequently shielded from view, presumably to protect the living from facing fears of what happens when life ceases to be. Sarah Sudhoff’s At the Hour of Our Death, takes as its starting point writer Phillipe Aries’ observation that “death’s invisibility enhances its terror”.

Like most of her work, these pictures are inspired by personal experience. As a teenager Sudhoff lost a friend to suicide. While visiting his home after learning of the tragedy, she witnessed a clean up crew efficiently removing all physical traces of his final moments—the stuff of death we prefer to quietly avoid. Brightly illuminated and full of vibrant color, Sudhoff’s large-scale photos present swatches of bedding, carpet and upholstery marked with the signs of a passing life. Seemingly grim at first blush, the series is a fascinating and beautiful work of conceptual art. By making abstract the thing we fear most, Sudhoff brings it into stark focus.

Sudhoff_SuicideGunFemale

Suicide with Gun, Female, 60 years old, At the Hour of Our Death series, 2010 © Sarah Sudhoff

Sudhoff_IllnessFemale

Illness, Female, 60 years old, At the Hour Our Death series, 2010 © Sarah Sudhoff

Sudhoff_HeartAttack

Heart Attack, Male, 50 years old (II), At the Hour of Our Death series, 2010 © Sarah Sudhoff

Sudhoff_Overdose

Overdose, Female, 40 years old, At the Hour of Our Death series, 2010 © Sarah Sudhoff

Sarah Sudhoff is the recipient of En Foco’s New Works Photography Fellowship Awards, an annual program selecting three or more U.S. based photographers of Latino, African or Asian heritage, and Native Peoples of the Americas and Pacific, through a national call for entries. The New Works program helps artists to create or complete an in-depth photographic series exploring themes of their choice, and provides the infrastructure needed for national visibility and a professional exhibition of their new work in the New York area. More about her on her En Foco Photographers page and at SarahSudhoff.com

Sarah’s work is on view as part of New Works #14, at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation’s Skylight Gallery in Brooklyn, through July 1, 2011. Please join us Thursday, April 28, 6-8 pm for the opening reception and Saturday, April 30, 2-4 pm for the artist talk.

Andy Adams is the founder and editor of FlakPhoto.com, a contemporary photography website that celebrates the culture of image-making by promoting the discovery of artists from around the world. An online art space + photography publication, the site provides opportunities for a global community of artists and photo organizations to share new series work, book projects, and gallery exhibitions with a web-based photography audience. More about him at AndyAdamsPhoto.com

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