Aperture | What It’s Like to See Photographs Again

Jesse Dorris, Aperture Magazine, October 31, 2020

Carmen Winant’s show Togethering offered one of the most profound experiences I’ve had in the pandemic. Winant’s photo collages depicted instances of intimacy, funny and generous and kitschy and strange. People held each other in birth and rebirth, in ecstatic communion. They altered themselves to become themselves. The otherwise mostly-empty room of the home gallery was bedecked with strands of feminist history, alternative spirituality, politics; the personally erotic and the politically nostalgic weaving in my head and heart like a Senga Nengudi sculpture. Their frames—some with ridges and some with trompe l’oeil painted borders—must be seen, off-screen, to be believed. I thought of those old multiphoto wall displays of many shapes my parents filled of images of me and my grandparents. When would I see them again? I thought of an Instagram scroll molten, discarded. I wanted to meet every person Winant introduced with such kindness to me. I felt, for a vanishing moment, unalone.