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Reporting Back to You: Volume 4

Paul McGuirk | United States


I came upon these events and locations that spoke out to me and made their value understood in the way only a photographic frame can make clear.

Old and new carriages. Silhouettes and reflections. Public art and private art made public. Access. Who’s in? Who’s out? All, signs of the time for me and then some.

Some facts have been stated. Some ideals have been staked. Large machines still indiscriminately collide with and kill small beings.The old world’s meeting the future and some remnants are showing their rust. It is a time of hybrid hype and hope. I hope.


When I look back at the inception of this project, I realize its birth was at Ellis Island in the summer of 1999. Having just spent the better part of a decade focusing my lens on people living in war zones and natural disasters throughout the world for a relief organization, I wanted to use the same focus of attention, but rather than look at people in extreme duress, I wanted to see what stories images from my own peaceful and mundane everyday world could collectively tell.

I had begun my photo career with a thesis on the American Bicentennial celebration.

Spending a year on the streets of Philadelphia, the birthplace of this country, examining the spirit of the past and its juxtaposition to the present started me on a journey of witness to what appears to be in the shadows of my culture, even though it’s standing there in plain sight.

So in 1999 I wanted to capture the spirit of the new century and see what my society was reflecting. Where the Bicentennial was about the present reflecting on the past, this would be about the present reflecting the future. I would ask of the images found in my everyday life to report back on my societies attitudes, moods and dispositions.

With each of the six volumes in the Reporting Back to You series there is an over arching presence that speaks to the ambiguities of our individuality, freedoms and idealisms.

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