Recording since 1986
The autobiographical brand of artist Jacob Victorine focused on documentary forms, especially photos from his teens and twenties.
Print 058: I Heard Love
We sat in the same white tablecloth restaurant
whose name I never knew or have long forgotten
this was the same weekend we rushed to the clinic
Print 059: I Heard Love
or drugstore to get the morning after
I reached for you which is and isn’t a metaphor
for us: a six-hour bus ride is a lifetime
Print 060: I Heard Love
where you once invited a boy whose hair
was just my shade with an arm outstretched
the way two people just learning how do sometimes
Print 055: Patrick Ewing Year
My wife calls thirty-three my Jesus year
though maybe I should name mine Patrick Ewing
less than two hours away from my birthday
Print 056: Patrick Ewing Year
watching internet conspiracy videos
on repeat at one in the morning
the sick irony of buying a t-shirt
Print 057: Patrick Ewing Year
of Ewing leaning against them
from a streetwear shop named Nom de Guerre
in a bomb shelter basement below SoHo.
Print 052: The Height of Internet Irony
Quotation marks are the height of screen-print irony
these days, here’s some kid wearing an Interpol t-shirt
who’s never listened to the band. I haven’t either.
Print 053: The Height of Internet Irony
P_____ made fun of W_____, my mystery long-distance girlfriend
he’d never meet since she’d break up with me a month later.
I won’t deny that I laughed more than once. (Would I twelve years later?)
Print 054: The Height of Internet Irony
After class, we went out for drinks at a nearby Chinese restaurant
with awful food but a cheap happy hour.
Rule #1 of the internet: It’s not real if you don’t care.
Print 049: The Light Passing Over
A shadow rolling slowly across the grass
like my mother has been for nearly twenty-one years.
Is her father retired like mine? Is her mother ill?
Print 050: The Light Passing Over
What tenuous connections do we still hold twelve years later?
I wonder when she visits, who she sees.
Neither W_____nor I even live in New York anymore.
Print 051: The Light Passing Over
We wore matching coats before couples dressing was a hashtag
saw the sun dial beneath the towering eye of Belvedere Castle
now closed for renovations, a shadow or the light passing over.
Print 046: In the Red, Red Dark
We don’t speak Portuguese so S_____and I end up
in the Power Plant Museum’s song of clanging machinery
against the dark above us, below red coals burn
Print 047: In the Red, Red Dark
thirteen years earlier I kiss W_____’s cheek
in the almost dark of the Museum of Natural History
beneath the white of the famous whale’s belly
Print 048: In the Red, Red Dark
a rush of neurons that bridges two bodies
flush with hormones and expectations
in the somewhere part of us we name but can’t want
Recording 008: The Branding of Public Space
Print 043: Bandana-less Bro
Me: Not pictured. Me: The consummate third wheel.
Me: Eating a chicken burrito from Chipotle
while P_____ and N_____ do blow at the kitchen table.
Print 044: Bandana-less Bro
Me: Headed home to rest. Me: Staying in to do some work.
Me: What happened last night? Me: Framing the photo just so.
Print 045: Bandana-less Bro
Me: Having the fewest drinks. Me: Doing the fewest drugs.
Me: The mom of the group. Me: The only bandana-less bro.
Print 040: The Gates
An orange fire kindles
through the gate I see in my chest
through the gate I am miserable
Print 041: The Gates
through the gate we are married
against the light, between the rolling hills
paddles slap against the water
Print 042: The Gates
W_____’s family is earshot away
we float through Guilin, the river
I couldn’t predict but once wanted
Print 037: Lego Hearts
I don’t want W_____ back, just the good
memories minus the pain that came later.
Print 038: Lego Hearts
I wouldn’t listen to 808s & Heartbreak in full
until years later. Didn’t like the sound of Kanye’s voice.
Print 039: Lego Hearts
I swear we danced across the giant piano
but there aren’t any photos to prove it.
Recording 007: Experiences as Possessions: the Capitalization of Memory
Print 034: Valentine’s Bears
I used to love romantic comedies until I learned
love isn’t funny when you’re inside it—
Print 035: Valentine’s Bears
even less so when you’re out. I lost the jacket I wore that night
in an ex-friend’s closet a few years later.
Print 036: Valentine’s Bears
I was leaving for grad school in Chicago in a month,
but he couldn’t wait that long for his new girlfriend to move in.
Print 031: In the Grass Again
I want to show you our spot but I can’t remember:
Sheep Meadow or maybe the pond on West 103rd
where my parents still sit in the summer—
Print 032: In the Grass Again
I’d forgotten how many afternoons
W_____ and I spent laying in the grass
a cool breeze brushing against our backs.
Print 033: In the Grass Again
Sometimes all I come back to is a muddled image
the smell of W_____’s perfume
that chased me up 96th street the summer after
Recording 006: Bad Rap and the Ethics of Omission
Print 028: We Light Candles
Dad (absent from the photo) with the camera.
I was fifteen when the twin towers collapsed
the first week back at school.
Print 029: We Light Candles
I didn’t make a birthday wish
but I wonder what I wanted at nineteen
my family crowded around the dining table.
Print 030: We Light Candles
Sarah and I want to light more candles.
We talk about celebrating the Sabbath
like we’ve been it doing for years.
Print 025: Shadows in the Grass
In the grass we are nameless
we cast shadows cut off by the frames
that surround us, that bind us, that we couldn’t break past.
Print 026: Shadows in the Grass
I still wanted to be near W_____, with her, beside her—
she was going away to college and didn’t see
how long distance could work a second time around.
Print 027: Shadows in the Grass
In the grass we are sun cast and shining
as the sadness breaks inside me
a wave I hadn’t yet learned to surf.
Print 022: Waves in the Grass
I was already too scared of falling
on the board near the midtown movie theater
on 8th Ave. C_____ tried to teach me how
Recording 005: Frame(s)
Print 023: Waves in the Grass
that summer in the grass with W_____
and her new soon-to-be-Carnegie-Mellon-bound friends
I didn’t care about meeting
Print 024: Waves in the Grass
at nineteen or twenty I flew down to Florida
to go surfing with C_____ months before—
waves crashing against us in the Key West sun.
Print 019: The Present Is Always and the Past Is Too
You know you’re getting olderwhen even your memories seem clichébut I swear I’m not cynical:
Print 020: The Present Is Always and the Past Is Too
photos lie because the present is alwaysW____ and me barefoot on the beachskinny-dipping in the clear blue water one afternoon.
Print 021: The Present Is Always and the Past Is Too
It feels almost perverse to writeof an eighteen and nineteen-year-old’s sex lifeeven if one of those people was me.
Recording 004: Icarus: Risk and Movement in Documentary Art
Print 016: In the Grass
When she got out of classW_____ and I would meet at Battery Parkafter I took my second semester off from Bard
Print 017: In the Grass
I was already thinking babies—half-Chinese, half-Jewish—as I listened to Anthony Hamilton’s “Better Days”
Print 018: In the Grass
go to a movie and make out like so many teens sitting in the back row thinking no one knew what we were up to.
Print 013: Party Like It's 2004
If we were girls in far less clothingI guess the physical intimacyof four college guys will never match up
Print 014: Party Like It's 2004
snuggling in bed with three other menagainst the camera’s bright flashcould have been a Terry Richardson shoot
Print 015: Party Like It's 2004
I saw myself as the nice guy—an excuseto not take chances—I wouldn’t have sexfor the first time until a year or so later
Recording 003: Tape vs. Tap
Print 010: And We Were All Orange
Is it the dangling gold earrings she wore
the camera’s bright flash that made me blink
or the way distance is a synonym for age.
Print 011: And We Were All Orange
Sometimes memory is just a feeling.
I know from photos what my bed looked like
at Bard but don’t remember W_____ sleeping there
Print 012: And We Were All Orange
even though I know she did. Listening to
a playlist of Anthony Hamilton and Stevie Wonder
after she left. Some teens can’t help but court heartbreak
Print 007: Halloween, 2004
Print 008: Halloween, 2004
Print 009: Halloween, 2004
Recording 002: On the Unspoken Social Contract of (Public) Photos
Print 004: Triple 5 Soul Nights
Print 005: Triple 5 Soul Nights
Print 006: Triple 5 Soul Nights
Print 001: Freshman Move-in
My first week, sent you selfies the old-school way
still loved Kanye and kicks before I quit the basketball team—
why I got off the waiting list, I’m not sure I ever told you what I wanted
Print 002: Freshman Move-in
The body forgets what a new bed feels like two seasons away
from home, boxes and plastic bins instead of closets
the performance of how you live for someone you’ve never met
Print 003: Freshman Move-in
I didn’t remember P____ played tennis until returning to the photo
thirteen years and that hoop is back in my old room
at my parents we must have played but I don’t remember
Jacob Victorine v. On TAPE Studio