Seven Entertainers

My Life in Politics

What if people actually prefer the theatrical, surface-level engagement with politics that they are increasingly left with? What if campaign signs, badges, bumper stickers and flags aren't simply the ephemera of Americans' political lives, but their substance as well? That this dilemma happens to find resonance in photography's arm's-length provision of access to its subjects makes My Life in Politics deeply sad and grand at the same time. Lacking an immediate experience of something, we'll seize on a great photograph of it, even though the picture remains nothing more than what Winogrand termed 'the illusion of a literal description of a piece of time and space'. Davis makes clear that, in spite of whatever public fuss there may be at the moment, 'politics' is something that is happening somewhere else, beyond the reach of the press, the camera and almost everything except our mind's eye. With the details increasingly obscured by the opaque veneer of rhetoric and the carefully controlled public face of each candidate, Americans can barely imagine the forces at work behind this invisible screen; most of us hardly bother to try.

--Peter Eeley, Frieze Magazine