Taryn Simon

This weekend I’ve been reading about American artist Taryn Simon’s latest photography work – Contraband.

The series of 1000 photographs documents contraband seized by US Customs officers at JFK airport, from both travelling passengers and recorded mail between November 16th and November 20th 2009.

In order to complete the work, Simon was granted access in to the ‘no mans land’ that lies between American and foreign soil, where goods are seized and inspected, and spent five days and nights photographing items as they arrived.

The objects found vary – from the scary to the surreal. My personal favourites are a plastic water bottle full of congealed fat, (animal origin unknown). To a bag of hundreds of duck tongues - probably to be used in alternative medicine.

Simon’s work can be viewed as a study of early 21st century global experience, and simultaneously a critique on Western society’s greed for goods. I love the clinical starkness the grey backdrop, it makes every object seem more bizarre. Also the sheer audacity of passengers attempting to carry such bizarre items.

Bird corpse
Stroides, testosterone & Sustanon
Oxalis Tuberosa
Counterfeit BMW car emblems
Guinea Pigs
Counterfiet Louis Vuitton hand bags