Recology San Francisco
Artist-in-Residence Exhibition

Press Release

The images photographer Jamil Hellu has made during his Recology residency explore a range of ideas related to identity and portraiture. Examining how we create and negotiate our identities throughout our lives, Hellu looks at our memories via objects, and contemplates the pivotal influences that shape who we are. The work questions the shifting nature of identity and the many roles we play in our personal and professional lives. In some cases, Hellu places the things he has photographed alongside their images and brings poignancy to mundane yet once cherished items. He also replicates scenes in found photographs that are simultaneously humorous and touching, pointing to commonalities between seemingly different people. 
The work also explores identity in crisis and what it means to dispose of key markers of identity in a place like the public dump. If throwing away things, especially photographs, is a metaphor for the loss of individual identity, then the dump pile, becomes a homogenous monument to general human experience. Illustrating this is Hellu’s shredded pile of one hundred nineteen snapshots of people at the Golden Gate Bridge—both a permanent erasure of these specific memories and an evocation of the universal significance this destination holds in people’s lives. Other photographs expand on this Bay Area and California love, as well as a love of photography itself.
Once Upon
(Wood, glass, vintage 1950s Polaroid Land camera)
Found mask
Wonder Woman 2014
30x24" Digital pigment print with lasso.
Accompanying text:
Wonder Woman suit found inside a black plastic bag on March 13
Left boot found on March 8
Right boot found on April 4
Various bracelets found inside an old traveling suitcase on March 18
Faux-leather pink star belt found on April 22
Metal mounting bracket found on April 26
Wig found inside a white plastic bag along with 3 other wigs on April 26
Lasso found on May 1
119 Found Photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge
(Shredded photographs, slide, suitcase)
Reenactments of found photographs
(Polaroids, chromogenic color prints, found dice)
North Bay Counties Map
Found Portraits
Collage of found photographs
Portrait of a Fan in Three Acts
(Video installation with found headphones)
Photo assistants: Corey Christopher​​​​​​​
Special thanks to  Matthew Gottschalk, Deborah MunkSharon Spain, Micah Gibson, and all the Recology team.