Reading a photograph or a work of art often involves a lot of ‘unpacking’ in order to discover meaning. Think of your still life or object like a suitcase: depending on who is using it, where it is going, or how long it will be gone, it can be very different from other suitcases. What uses does your object have? Whose object is it? Where did it come from? Opening a suitcase will tell you a lot about the person it belongs to. Through clothing or toiletries the contents will provide a context for the owner. Now imagine two suitcases, one from 1950 and one from present day. How do their contents differ? What era is your object from? Is it new? Is it old? Is it timeless? When choosing the subject for your Foreign Object submissions, consider how your choice will be ‘unpacked’ by the viewer. Think of all the questions they might have. You don’t need to have all the answers, of course, but be aware of how many curiousities a simple object can inspire!

Take a look at these images of televisions by Lee Friedlander! What questions come to mind with these images? How are they different from each other? How are they the same?

Lee Friedlander, Florida (With Sexy Eyes), 1963

Lee Friedlander, TV in Hotel Room, Galax, Virginia, 1962