What Had Happened
What Had Happened
Bowman’s work investigates the histories of people left out of the grand historical narratives with which we are more familiar. Previous to this project, she photographed monuments, artifacts of antiquity, and landscapes of historical significance in the U.S. In What Had Happened, Bowman returns to where she grew up (the Baldwin Hills, Inglewood, and Crenshaw neighborhoods of Los Angeles, CA), opening her own history to ask questions about the role location and landscape play in personal evolution.
The images recall the events, objects, and sites that mold us in order to explore themes of displacement, family history, and notions of home. Bowman asks how we remember what has marked us in a place we once called home and how that place informs who we are in the present.
Memories of place are nuanced, emotional, atmospheric, historical, and geographical; when we return to these sites they are never exactly as remembered and fail to fully complete the retelling of history.
In these photographs the passing of time reveals itself in the shadows drifting over a backyard, in a carpeted staircase worn by years of feet treading its fibers, in the shifting earth cracking the sidewalk that lays over it. The double exposures and repeated imagery draw attention to the way that time alters our perception of locations. Collectively the images render parts of ourselves and the place we once called home lost to time.
Dannielle Bowman (b. 1989) is a visual artist working with photography. Bowman received a BFA from the Cooper Union and an MFA in Photography from the Yale School of Art, where she was awarded the Richard Benson Prize. Bowman has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, as well as PICTURE BERLIN, in Berlin, Germany. Exhibiting her photographs in the United States and internationally, Bowman lives and works in New York.
“There are multiple entry points into Dannielle Bowman’s What Had Happened, a series in progress. Bowman makes excellent use of the pleasures of photographic space, described in elongated tonal-gradations of black, white, and maximum greys balanced against compositions etched sharply by California-noir shadows—Robert Adams meets Maya Deren in the Los Angeles suburbs. These elements lure the viewer to linger within the work. Aside from the surplus of visual gratification, the work simmers with the tension of a story mostly withheld.” – Lesley Martin, Aperture
In “What Had Happened,” Bowman employs light and shadow as framing devices. Her black-and-white images read as abstract compositions and still lifes—even when her subjects are women. Exploring “themes of displacement, family history, and notions of home,” she is “opening her own history to ask questions about the role location and landscape play in personal evolution.” Culture Type