Art or Controversy?

The controversial photography series located on level one of the Library Resource Center. (Courtesy of Saddleback Photograpy)

Kristine Martinez

A picture series involving a man with a hose is located  on level one of the Library Resource Center (LRC) at the Saddleback campus. The series has served as a controversial subject as many students attempt to depict the meaning behind it and determine whether or not it should be up for display.
In an informal survey conducted by the Lariat, 21 out of 25 Saddleback students said they found the images to be disturbing.
“I immediately think of death and suicide,” Jared Ward, 22, kinesiology, said.
Some students thought otherwise.
“I don’t really see how it’s controversial, I see a lot of art that has the same context as this but isn’t shown in schools,” Matt Pence, 21, art history, said.
The first picture of the series (top left), consist of two hands griping the hose near the nozzle. Pouring from the nozzle is a substance which carries down to the picture below. The hose manages to wraps its way to the right towards the second picture (top right), where it tightly coils around two ankles of an unknown body.

From the legs the hose makes its way down to the next picture (bottom right) in which it wraps around a person’s neck that is disguised by a sack and slightly tilted to the right. The hose then continues to the left to the last picture of the series (bottom left), in which the hose reaches the beginning of the faucet. A man’s hand is placed on top of the faucet as he stands directly next to it with a substance, from the top left picture, pouring over his head.

“The whole thing put together makes it special,” Nasir Faryabi, 23, engineering and chemistry, said.
Some students viewed the artistic quality in the photographs.
“I suppose the man is using the hose as a metaphor for life. If you tie yourself up with too many things you could harm yourself,” Jeff Tscoumangos, 21, undecided, said. “You need to water the plants gradually over time, not just pile it all at once or the plant could possibly perish.”
There were also students who found the series to be interesting, but many found it be unsettling.
“Considering what just happened with the Syed case, I don’t think that the school should be portraying any images that could reflect harm or suicide,” Kristen Holt, 19, Psychology said. “The school should be more respecting in that aspect.”
Out of the 21 students that found the series to be disturbing, 18 thought that the images should be taken down.
“I think these three look cool [top two and bottom left photo], but I just don’t like this one,” Alexa Thavorn, 20, Health Science, said as she pointed the picture with man disguised by a sack. “To me this is disturbing because i’m a happy person and that just kind of freaks me out.”
Many students agreed that the series would be more artistic and appropriate for school grounds if the man with a sack over his head was removed from the series.
Who created this series? Why was it created? What were the intentions?
The series belongs to the Saddleback Photography department but the incentives, meaning and artists behind them remain anonymous as no one has chosen to take ownership of the four controversial photos.  

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