Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Nineteen Lincolns


Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky near Hodgenville and his wife, Mary Todd, came from Lexington. I'm not aware of any direct connection of Lincoln to the area, but he undoubtedly stopped through here at some point in his life.

A new series by photographer Greta Pratt records the impression of Lincoln by nineteen Abraham Lincoln impersonators, photographed on the wood fence outside the 16th president's old Kentucky home. These men all belong to The Association of Lincoln Presenters, and they are very passionate about the man. They chose to portray Lincoln for different reasons, but each looks up to him in some way.

Pratt says on her web site:

"Physically Lincoln was an awkward man, tall and gangly, with a hollow face and wild hair. Yet in spite of his lack of formal education, modest means, and physical awkwardness, Lincoln rose to the highest office in the land. Lincoln is revered because he embodies one of America’s most cherished tenets, that the common man, through sheer hard work and determination, can elevate his status in society."

"The portraits share a muted palate of colors that binds them together as a group suggesting a communal identity. The background, a softly focused landscape, references historic portrait painting and connects the Lincolns to the vast American wilderness where the common man was able to build a new life."

"These photographs are a continuation of my quest to understand how I, and we, remember history. My intention is to comment on the way a society, composed of individuals, is held together through the creation of its history and heroic figures."

View the Gallery

posted at 1:07 PM by Jeremy Parnell

2 Comments:

said...

Great observation Jeremy

Number 3 looks more like Lincoln than any of the others

3:14 PM
Jeremy said...

In case you're wondering why it says 19 Lincolns, but there's only 18 photographs, one of the portraits contains two Lincolns. This one's actually one of my favorites. It has Lincoln as an old man and as a young man, together like a family portrait.

The interesting thing is that the older Lincoln is obviously older than Lincoln actually was at the time of his death. With the juxtaposition of the old man and young man, the photograph shows an entire life in one photo. Since the old man is older than the age we all know Lincoln became, the portrait doesn't show Lincoln as he actually was, but rather the possibilities of what he could have been.

2:28 PM