Meg Handler —Fans
I have spent a decades long career looking at other people’s photographs. I always made photos informally, meaning I shot for myself and never tried to market the work. In the early 90’s, I had been shooting religious events that only occurred outdoors and on the street. I started this project after seeing a news report of a “Jesus Sighting” in Washington Heights, New York. A few hundred people stood in line, gathered in the courtyard of an apartment building to see an image of Christ in a bathroom window. They saw it, I did not. Even though I didn’t witness the second coming of Christ, I was intrigued by the intensity of their experience and their desire to be in the company of something that moved them deeply. If people are so enthralled by a vision, what happens when they see their icons in real life?
I decided to take a closer look at the phenomenon of FANS, every day people that want to rub up against some magic or star power at a Papal Mass in Central Park, football games, political rallies, a UFO convention and Graceland on the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. What I discovered was an almost universal reflection of adoration–the experience of the individual in the crowd, their dedication, commitment and faith becomes clear in their faces.
Meg Handler is Editor at Large for Reading The Pictures. She is the former photo editor of The Village Voice. Following The Voice, Meg worked at U.S. News & World Report, Blender, New York Magazine, COLORS and Polaris Images. She has edited a number of books: Phil Stern: A Life’s Work, PAPARAZZI by Peter Howe, and POT CULTURE by Shirley Halperin and Steve Bloom, Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 80’s by Jonathan Bernstein & Lori Majewski, and most recently, Dave Jordano’s DETROIT UNBROKEN DOWN.