Stephanie Burchett, “Spectators”


Cover of Spectators Book


Inside page view of spectator at a lynching from historic photographs


Inside page view of spectator at a lynching from historic photographs


Inside page view of spectator at a lynching from historic photographs


Colophon

Artist Statement

Between the years of 1880 and 1930, approximately 4,697 lynchings took place in the United States, mostly of African American men in the South. White supremacists used the act of lynching as an informal system of enforcement.  After a lynching, identifiable spectators would pose with the victim for a photograph. These photographs would then be sold as postcards and prints, as souvenirs, for spectators to take with them, to send to their friends or to hang on their walls as trophies.

This book combines the faces of those spectators. The book was inspired by the facial recognition software that was detecting these faces while I was conducting research about lynching photographs. Susan Sontag discussed these spectators in her book Regarding the Pain of Others. There she suggests that the people in the crowd, who posed for the camera after the lynching, are “what barbarians look like, they look like everybody else.”

Spectators
2017
Artist Book
15
19
8″ x 10.5″ x  1/8″
8″ x 5.25″ x 1/8″

Stephanie Burchett
Tucson, Arizona
www.stephanieburchett.com