Re:Collection: Pacifico Silano on Robert Benjamin

Visitors to our website can now explore thousands of photographic works and objects from the Light Work Collection in a new online database that expands access of work by former Light Work artists to students, researchers, and online visitors. To coincide with the our new collection website launch, we’re introducing a series on our blog called Re:Collection, inviting artists and respected thinkers in the field to select a single image or object from the archive and offer a reflection as to its historical, technical, or personal significance.

Today we’re sharing a reflection on Robert Benjamin’s Jaiya, 1984 from 2016 Light Work in-residence, Pacifico Silano.

If you’ve ever taken a Photography 101 class, you’re familiar with the cardinal rule: no pictures of babies or dogs. There’s something about how everyone likes them, and so that deems them “unserious” subject matter. And yet many photographers, over the course of their careers, will, at one point or another, break the rules and turn their camera to the family pet. We love to be disarmed by these images as they bring us a sense of levity in an increasingly divided and hostile world.

Robert Benjamin’s 1984 photograph, Jaiya, is a gentle reminder of the unconditional love we receive from our devoted, four-legged friends. A bed of grass fills the frame, the dog laying against it in the sun, with a glimpse of the photographer’s foot appearing in the lower right-hand corner. It’s an image that tells us of the simple pleasures in life like laying outside in the summer and briefly forgetting our troubles. We want to be as carefree and content as a dog, to not have to stress, worry, or live in fear for the future.

Find more of Pacifico Silano’s work online here.

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