First version: 1975-76.
Series, revised and extended: 1982, 1983, 2013
Handmade book, 1983; self-published book, 2013.
This version: 2018
Diane Brown Gallery, Washington DC, 1977
Excerpts, Virginia Museum of Art, Richmond, Va. 1996
Publication: "Rita Hayworth", Photographies magazine, April-May, Paris, France. 1984:
Each of these photographs, on a fictional level is about some aspect of Rita Hayworth's life. On a documentary level they are about some aspects of my own life in the years between 1975 and 1977. In the gap as it were, rushing to fill the space between fact and fiction, between fantasy and experience, are the captions which serve as a faux-guide to the events in Rita/Mark’s life.
Thus the work also deals with one of the secrets of fictional photography: words can alter the reality of any photograph. Belief alternates between the eye and language and finally, you, the viewer, must decide. Do you believe what you see or what you read? Although (to me) it is patently obvious the pictures have little relationship to the words, perhaps you, the viewer. might feel a little doubt. Is it possible these might actually have something to do with a film star of the 1940s?
In that sense, the work also partakes of the esthetic of cinema. One only has to think of Godard whose work sometimes alternates between the artist's actual life and his life on the screen. Which is more important? Is it the imaginary memoir? Or the disparity between the fictional family album and the 'real' family album? Or the fantasy about a real woman who gave us a life of fantasy on the silver screen?
To its creator, who is now a stranger to me, all these aspects were of importance at the time of making the work. But as a viewer, looking back on it, decades after its creation, the personal aspect is of more interest. The issue of how words can change an image seems irrelevant for me in these digital times of artificial intelligence and computational photography.
I look at these photographs and try to remember who I was when I was making them. I look at the people who star in these scenes with wonder. Like me, they have all changed, and like Rita, some are no longer with us. I ponder the mystery how Rita Hayworth became a metaphor of myself and time.