6/1/13 12:48 PM
Lois Bielefeld’s photographic series root themselves in genuine curiosity about other people’s lives: what their most private spaces look like, what they eat for lunch, why they choose to carry concealed firearms. In order to make the kind of intimate, non-judgmental pictures that she has made, Bielefeld herself clearly proceeds with the most open of minds. Her subjects trust her, and she repays this trust tenfold. The viewer, however, cannot necessarily be counted on to possess such unbiased vision, to gaze without prejudice on the photo of a droopy middle-aged woman and the giant stuffed bear lying on her bed; or the grinning office worker and the meager pair of shiny red apples that constitute her lunch; or the tanning-bed glazed woman flaunting her hot pink pistol. Of necessity these photos come in complex series, rich in every kind of contradictory detail that keeps them from confirming any one set of prejudices or stereotypes. And thus builds the worthy challenge of Bielefeld’s artwork, for anyone brave enough to look at it, and to keep on looking.