Clayton Cotterell

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Noé, 2008

Archival Pigment Print, 20" x 24"

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“Noé” is an experimental documentary project concentrated on Noé Jimenez, an eighteen year old living in New Haven, Connecticut. When I met him in a painter’s open studio in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2006, we quickly struck up a conversation. He explained that he was an artist and shared his incredibly tenuous plans for his immediate future. When I asked his age, I was shocked to learn that he was only sixteen at the time as his demeanor and interests had led me to believe that he was at least in his twenties and much closer to my own age. Despite his maturity, there were times where his true age was exposed through his physical gestures and naïve comments. This duality between maturity and adolescence are what initially interested me in starting this project. As I continued to photograph him, my perception of him and the world in which he existed in would dramatically shift.

At a certain point in this project, I realized that when I was photographing Noé, I was actually searching for an escape from my own adult reality. I was looking for an idealized world that I placed upon Noé and his surroundings. While photographing Noé, I concentrated on key aspects of his life such as romantic relationships, father/son relationships and coming of age issues. Throughout the project, I also began heavily imposing my own perceptions of what those aspects meant to me. I idolized my subject and the period of life he was going through as a means to understand where I have come from and where I am now. I see Noé in an indeterminate state that is common to all of us at some point in our lives and I created this project to capture this extended “in between” moment in photographs.

Artworks by Clayton Cotterell

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