"…and to me that is the irony in all of this…In the act of wanting to be alone, and disappearing, he actually became famous."
Amani Willett's new book, The Disappearance of Joseph Plummer, pieces together the history and the mythology left behind of a mysterious hermit who moves away from society to the deep woods of New Hampshire in the late 1700's. Amani became interested in Plummer after realizing that his father had bought the same land, where Plummer had settled, also as an escape from modern life. Amani treats the historical and the folkloric complex nature of this work and the work he did photographing the remnants of the Underground Railroad as equally important. He embraces the ambiguity and rejects the reducing of stories to simple facts so that others feel comfortable with the work. We talk about how this embrace of ambiguity might be related to people wanting him to simplify his identify as black or white and how exploring Joseph Plummer was also exploring his relationship with his father.
This episode sponsored by the School of Visual Arts MFA Photography, Video, & Related Media - Charles Traub, Chair.
From The Disappearance of Joseph Plummer - © Amani Willett
From Disquiet - © Amani Willett