The Social Life of How’s the Water? Photographs: A Call for Interactive Curating

The photograph, like a poem, a novel, or art piece, has a long, but often nebulous life. It’s born as a thought, a mere idea, floating in that uncertain place that is one’s head. With some planning and effort it moves from ones mind to one’s camera, then maybe facebook, a tumbler account, or just iphoto. Here, more thought is given before it finally makes its way into the experienced hands of a darkroom technician or the local 1 hour photo consul where it is finally put to paper. The photographs are then displayed for a small or large audience. While this appears to be the “end” of its life, it’s really just in the middle, and for SEMAP, the most interesting…

For both our El Monte and NYC showing, we held a free raffle at the end of the night. Visitors patiently waited for their names to be called, hoping that that one particular photograph had not been taken. When their name was called, they carefully picked a photograph, taking it from this more or less public space to their most private and intimate space: their homes. It is this particular life of the photograph that we seek to document and share. By asking you to send us a picture of the home you gave the photograph (your desk, bedroom, living room) we hope to connect the person photographed, the photographers, and the new owner of the photograph. Through this sharing, we can learn more about the social life of the photograph (an abstract idea that was articulated visually), create a virtual community of SEMAP homies, and see the way in which visitors are active participates in the re-curating process.

The Plan: The plan is to get as many images as possible. Here, it might be nice if you took a photograph on your camera or phone  that can give us a sense of the home the photograph found. Send us the photograph to with a few lines about why you picked it, what you like about it, and how you decided where to locate it. We will then create a map, with a marker that represents the new home of the image. We plan to share this map online and our show in Pomona, which will be the entire month of March. We are thinking of this project as fun way to give a big thanks and shout out to our photographers and acknowledge the curatorial practices of How’s the Water? visitors.


2 thoughts on “The Social Life of How’s the Water? Photographs: A Call for Interactive Curating

  1. F. guzman

    I have two pictures, and they went to the living room in our house.
    They are the pictures of our two of our children.

  2. Valley of Smokes Post author

    nos puedes mandar una foto–the way they are now?
    Image in post is from Hector, a doctoral student at Columbia studying Anthropology. He is originally from DF.


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