Instead of focusing on one certain photo in this exhibit, I chose to stare at multiple photos. All of Melonie Bennett’s photos of her father showed me something very unique that isn’t understandable at first glance. I noticed that these photos shared different feelings and emotions, all having something to do with her father.
The photos that I looked at were:
“Dad, Midnight Snack” 2011
“I Knocked Him Looney” 2011
“Wyatt and Dad, Sword Fighting” 2011
“Dad, A Typical Dinner” 2010
“Dad, Post Operation” 2010
It is interesting to look at the years that this set of photos includes as, almost like a timeline, the feelings invoked change. We see her father transform from a messy, depressed state that we see in “Dad, A Typical Dinner” to a very happy, jovial feeling in “Wyatt and Dad, Sword Fighting”. In relation to what Garland-Thompson says about staring, how “a stare can yield its bearer myriad of responses, from curiosity to confusion, attraction, discomfort, even repulsion.” (7), I concluded that this set of photos is supposed to show the myriad of emotions that her father, a hoarder, feels. If not the feelings of the father, perhaps the perceptions of his daughter (Bennett) and what she feels about their relationship.
My favorite out of all of these photos is “Dad, A Midnight Snack” as it shows his compulsive feeling to collect everything; it shows his “hoarder-ness”. Although, it also shows a very relaxed face and seems very composed, something that is not evident in earlier photos that further show how he transforms or changes his state of being through the photos. If we stare, we notice that there are many objects in this photo, but we can also see that he is in the same room as he is in “I Knocked Him Looney”. The portrayal of the father in each of these photos is very different. In “Looney”, he is shaven, with a larger multitude of objects near his eating/sitting place. In “Midnight Snack”, we see him much more relaxed, and somewhat comical, with headphones, and a lot less objects interrupting the photo. I really like how even though the object of the photo (Dad) is the same person, the two photos really contrast. They are on opposite sides of the room, different sitting positions, and seem to be in completely different moods. I believe that Bennett captures her father and his feelings perfectly within the photos, making the set very intriguing.