There’s something about photographs that makes people trust them. Clem Baker-Finch questions this inherent believability by exploring and exploiting the use of photographs in trashy magazines. In these magazines- such as OK, Women’s Weekly or New No Idea- photographs are often provided as evidence. Evidence of celebrities’ rocky marriages or lovers’ quarrels, disordered eating habits and potential ‘baby bumps’.
Baker-Finch appropriates an image cropped from a magazine cover, and lets the words speak for themselves through the image. It’s all in the process: a computer program that he devised picks out the average colour of where a letter will go and writes the next letter in that colour, so that the words are woven tightly into the image. Even though these images are from cuttings, you can’t escape their magazine context- headlines, bar codes and inset images all push their way into view.
Baker-Finch also significantly enlarges these small cuttings from throwaway magazines, further highlighting the gravity, tragedy and also the humour in these modern relics of celebrity culture. But Baker- Finch isn’t being polemical; he is just making an observation, and like the readers of trashy magazines, the viewer must choose what they want to believe.
Excerpts from essay by Annika Harding; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.