Art Feature: Connection/ You+Ross Evertson

Published July 2009 Vol. 13 Issue 6

by Ross Evertson

I spent most of my time in college arguing. I went to art school, and despite the fact that I am an artist and photographer, it didn’t seem to agree with me. It was my nature then—and it still is, somewhat—to be disagreeable. I’ve been called argumentative and told that I obviously like to argue purely for the sake of it. Really though, I tend to play the devil’s advocate because it is typically more interesting and useful than simply agreeing with someone.

This project is the result of one of these arguments/discussions. Someone was waxing romantic about the connection between the photographer and his subject. This sort of mystical assumption is exactly the kind of thing that gets me excited to argue, but instead of engaging them I realized instantly what I would do instead. Five years later, I am finally working on it.

It is not high-brow, nor was there any real excuse for me to postpone the production of it for five years. It is embarrassingly simple. My belated retort to the idea of the photographer-subject connection was to make it literal. In this series of photos I am holding hands with the subjects—making a physical connection. While I wouldn’t want to state as fact that I feel this makes a tangible emotional difference in the nature of my relationship to the subjects, the reactions I get are both warmer and stranger than when I just take a straight portrait.  Beyond just the touch, the whole interaction is a unique experience, which provides for a whole other kind of connection.