One of three new commissions to be shown individually from 2018, Isaac Julien's Rochester Pictures will be freely inspired by the lives of two of the most iconic residents of Rochester, NY: the visionary African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, a freed slave who became the most photographed man of his generation, as well as his friend, anti-slavery and women’s rights activist Susan B Anthony.
Working with a series of vignettes and tableaux, such as the reconstruction of the photographic studio and gallery of James Presley Ball, Julien will explore key aspects of their activities in Rochester, as well as Douglass’s speaking tours of England in 1845 and 1859. Through extensive use of Frederick Douglass’s ‘timely words’, intertwined with special visual effects, as well as music and poetry from that time, Julien will create a multiple screen film installation, to be presented in early 2019. It will be shot in original KODAK 35mm black and white and colour film stock.
Other commissions in the series are by Dara Birnbaum and Javier Téllez.
Photography: Thierry Bal