A Play in Pictures, Part III

by:  Molly FitzMaurice at 03/31/2015

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, are 1200 pictures worth 1,200,000?

For best results, start with Part I and Part II, rinse and repeat.

Josephine Baker inspiration

For the real-world wall, the 1200 images I pinned were culled down to maybe 120. Posting ten or so images for each of the play’s eleven ‘exhibits,’ I realized there was a reason I could leave hundreds of excess images behind, but I couldn’t reduce all the way down to one. The images’ power often grew from their interrelationships. At the beginning of my image search, I’d treated them like glossary entries: the exhibit “Lala’s Opening” mentions Josephine Baker, so I found a picture of Josephine Baker. One to one. But her significance only came into focus as I scrolled past images of Beyonce, Rihanna, and Diana Ross each dressed as Josephine Baker. That’s when her image became an icon; only through a collection of images could I approach the “definitive black diva” Wolfe calls for, and the dense meaning of the “silhouette” he asks us to examine. The nimble lateral connections images allow aren’t one to one, and together, they make more than the sum of their parts. More even than a packet-full of words can say.

Want to see more images that inspired "Lala's Opening" and other "exhibits" in The Colored Museum?  Take a look at Molly's Pinterest boards.


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