Talking Pictures: Camera-Phone Conversations Between Artists at The Met Fifth Avenue, through December 17, 2018

“Over the past decade, mobile-phone cameras have changed how photographs are made, used, and looked at. While the camera once functioned chiefly as a tool for preserving the past, today people use mobile phones to share their visual experience in real time and with unprecedented intimacy. Talking Pictures: Camera-Phone Conversations Between Artists explores what happens when artists are partnered with other artists and the pairs engage in a visual dialogue using only their phones.

The Met commissioned 12 artists to participate in the project. Each was asked to invite another artist to be his or her conversation partner for a five-month period. From November 2016 to April 2017, the participants sent still images and brief videos back and forth in a game of pictorial ping-pong. They were asked not to write messages or captions and to refrain from sharing their images on social media. Otherwise, the content and frequency of communication was determined by the artists themselves.

Each pair approached the challenge differently. Some exchanged multiple images daily, producing free-wheeling chronicles of their lives. Others conversed more methodically, following a strict pattern of call-andresponse. Most responded in some way to last year’s U.S. Presidential election and its aftermath, which coincided with the image-exchange period.” — The Met

Dialogue between Manjari Sharma and Irina Rozovsky

Manjari Sharma (Indian, born 1979). Image from dialogue with Irina Rozovsky, sent 1/25/2017. Digital photograph.

Irina Rozovsky (American, born Russia, 1981). Image from dialogue with Manjari Sharma, posted 1/25/2017. Digital photograph.

Dialogue between Nina Katchadourian and Lenka Clayton

Nina Katchadourian (American, born 1968), Image from dialogue with Lenka Clayton, sent 11/10/2016. Digital photograph.

Lenka Clayton (British, born 1977), Image from dialogue with Nina Katchadourian, sent 11/11/2016. Digital photograph.

Dialogue between Tony Oursler and William Wegman

Tony Oursler (American, born 1957), Image from dialogue with William Wegman, sent 11/21/2016. Digital photograph.

William Wegman (American, born 1943), Image from dialogue with Tony Oursler, sent 11/21/2016. Digital photograph.

Dialogue between Rob Pruitt and Jonathan Horowitz

Rob Pruitt (American, born 1964), Image from dialogue with Jonathan Horowitz, sent 4/5/2017. Digital photograph.

Jonathan Horowitz (American, born 1966), Image from dialogue with Rob Pruitt, sent 4/5/2017. Digital photograph.

Dialogue between Nicole Eisenman and A. L. Steiner

Nicole Eisenman (American, born 1965), Image from dialogue with A. L. Steiner, sent 4/1/2017. Digital photograph.

A. L. Steiner (American, 1967), Image from dialogue with Nicole Eisenman, sent 4/1/2017. Digital photograph.

Dialogue between Shawn Peters and Sanford Biggers

Shawn Peters (American, born 1970), Image from dialogue with Sanford Biggers, sent 1/14/17. Digital photograph.

Sanford Biggers (American, born 1970), Image from dialogue with Shawn Peters, sent 1/15/17. Digital photograph.

Dialogue between Wu Zhang and Cao Fei

Wu Zhang (Chinese, born 1977), Image from dialogue with Cao Fei, sent 11/11/2016. Digital photograph.

Cao Fei (Chinese, born 1978), Image from dialogue with Wu Zhang, sent 11/12/2106. Digital photograph.

Dialogue between Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Nontsikelelo Mutiti

Njideka Akunyili Crosby (American, born Nigeria, 1983), Image from dialogue with Nontsikelelo Mutiti, sent 2/4/2017. Digital photograph.

Nontsikelelo Mutiti (Zimbabwean, born 1982), Image from dialogue with Njideka Akunyili Crosby, sent 2/4/2017. Digital photograph.

Dialogue between Laura Poitras and Teju Cole

Laura Poitras (American, born 1964), Image from dialogue with Teju Cole, sent 9/21/2016. Digital photograph.

Teju Cole (American, born 1975). Image from dialogue with Laura Poitras, sent 9/26/2016. Digital photograph.

Talking Pictures: Camera-Phone Conversations between Artists is organized by Mia Fineman, Associate Curator in the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Images courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art.