Ben Schonberger | Beautiful Pig
During an investigation of Detroit, I acquired a series of photographs from a retired former Detroit Police officer, Marty Gaynor, whom I began to interview weekly over a course of two years. Among his thousands of photographs were images that he had taken of criminals, just moments before their arrest. By cataloguing, arranging, and interpreting his work, I gave it the parameters of an archive. I arranged Marty’s images to create documents in the format of a grid. Each grid was presented to Marty as a canvas for him to transcribe a narration for his images. I infiltrated and paired the grids with images I had taken during my investigation and interaction with Marty. My arrangements are designed to address the complexities of identity through narrative.
In the tradition of August Sander, I am drawn to typologies of people and how they work in society. My images focus on masculine archetypes and their connection to labor. I meet men, establish working relationships with them, and then excavate and catalogue their belongings to construct a record. My focus is to create social documentaries that expose the idiosyncratic nature of identity, occupation, and faith.