effreyWolin is internationally recognized for his distinct
approach to combining images with the written word.
Wolin?s latest series is an extension of his past work that
documents the memories of a diverse array of subjects,
including Holocaust survivors, veterans and working
Pigeon Hill: Then and Now
continues his 1987-1991 portrait series photographing
the residents of the ?Pigeon Hill? housing projects in
Initially interested in prose and poetry, Wolin graduated
from Kenyon College in Ohio with a degree in English.
For his first job out of college, Wolin worked for the police
department in Kalamazoo, MI. ?[My experience there]
changed the way I saw the world,?Wolin said. ?I?d never seen
a dead person before. I would read the case studies, find out
what motivated people to do terrible things. Photography
fulfilled my desire for storytelling,? Wolin said.
During this time, Wolin became interested in the work of
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and the folk art tradition of
the retablo. He relates his own work to ex-votos, artistic
offerings to saints made as thanks for divine aid. These
paintings are usually coupled with a personal inscription
to express gratitude.
?One day, I took a 16x20 portrait of my father, and I grabbed
a pen and just started filling space with writing,? Wolin said.
?That was a postmodern thing to do at the time, but that?s
not why I did it. I did it because there was no other way I
could accomplish what I wanted to do.?
By RYAN M. TRACY and GRACE IVERSON
THEN AND NOW
Images (left to right): Timmy with Ferret, 1991, Jeffrey Wolin. Courtesy of the artist; Timmy Babbs,
Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, 2012, Jeffrey Wolin. Courtesy of the artist.