Gillian Wearing


This photograph shows me stopping and talking to a businessman during rush hour at Liverpool Street Station. While it is not specific to a particular artwork I am working on at the moment, it is representative of the way in which I approach and discover the subjects that have become important to projects I have undertaken in the past, most notably the series of photographs Signs That Say What You Want Them to Say and Not Signs That Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say. When most people are stopped in the street, they expect to be asked questions concerning a product, money, a survey, a personality test, or directions. To be asked only to write something, anything, presents a challenge and creates a totally different relationship to the person posing the question. The bizarre request to be "captured" on film by a complete stranger is compounded by a nonspecific space: the blank piece of paper. The subjects' clear collusion and engineering of their own representation interrupts the logic of documentary and snapshot photography.