I met Pelle Cass at a portfolio review. At the reviews you have 20 minutes in which to communicate a lifetime of information. It took me a bit to see the beauty and the cleverness of his work. I looked for a long time. The structure and technique, often so subtle I couldn’t quite get it, but knew it was there. I loved the challenge of finding hidden gems in the images, who went where, what is he trying to convey. Pelle’s work is creative and intelligent. I am a fan. His Pins series is a Rorschach test, what do you see in it? What do you get out of it? Select People reminds me of Where’s Waldo. The bigger the panel, the more involved I get in the images.
Pelle keeps moving the boundaries of creativity, getting the viewer more involved in that selected vision. His newest series, Strangers, is disconcerting, a little off putting, but mesmerizing all at the same time. I am always glad to see this great work recognized, and when it was part of the Critical Mass top 50 I felt the recognition was well deserved.
In his own words:
The composite photographs in Selected People are fabrications that are also truthful documents—documents that allow me to interpret and put order to the world. With the camera on a tripod, I take many dozens of pictures, and simply leave in the figures I choose and omit the rest (in Photoshop). Nothing has been changed, only selected.
In the manner of the documentary photograph, these candid, unposed pictures reflect public life. As in a staged photograph, they are the result of a plausible artifice and can imply a story. Like a typology, my photographs systematically collect and present likenesses as a kind of data. Above all, my work shows a surprising world that is visible only with a camera.
Pelle Cass has presented solo shows at Gallery Kayafas, Boston; Stux Gallery, Boston; Frank Marino Gallery, NYC; the Griffin Museum of Photography; the Photographic Resource Center, Boston, and the Fogg Art Museum print room. Group exhibitions include the George Eastman House, the Albright Knox Gallery, Stux Gallery, New York; New Art Center, Skidmore College; and the Danforth Museum of Art. His work is owned by the Fogg Art Museum, the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Polaroid Collection, the DeCordova Museum, the Lehigh University Art Galleries, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He was Winner: Top 50, Critical Mass, Photolucida, Portland, OR, in 2008 and 2009 and was awarded a Yaddo Fellowship in 2010. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
All images copyright Pelle Cass. Used with permission.