Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams

Work from her oeuvre.

Statement from I’m Too Sad to Tell You (after Bas Jan Ader).

“Crying is a powerful act; taking a photograph of oneself crying and putting it on the Internet is another matter entirely. It is a very specific cultural phenomenon and is in many ways much like a performance. As such, the title of this project is borrowed from a piece of the same name made by the Dutch performance artist Bas Jan Ader in 1970. His piece consisted of a silent 16mm short black and white film of himself crying uncontrollably with no explanation. Regardless of the authenticity of his tears, his grief is overwhelmingly real. It is at once hard to watch, mesmerizing, and beautiful.

“I’m Too Sad To Tell You (after Bas Jan Ader)” was originally conceived as a project to create an archive of self-portraits taken while crying. The images were to be displayed online on a website and then later made into a book. An open call was posted on the photo sharing community asking people to submit their crying self-portraits over the period of one month.

The website went online containing over 100 self-portraits, a third of which were found on Flickr searching through “tags” people attached to their images. A majority of the people who independently submitted images had Flickr accounts as well. Thus, the project also deals with the phenomenon of Flickr and other similarly structured websites using photographs as a form of communication. The “I’m Too Sad” website then becomes an attempt to give the images back some of their integrity as images by placing them in a clean non-communication based gallery format.” – Jessica Williams

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