Dialogues with Solitudes follows Dave Heath’s radical 1965 book A Dialogue with Solitude, which captures the restless zeitgeist of the sixties like a protest song. Heath depicts the fractures and unease in post-war America’s society of abundance, before the rise of the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War. Rather than focusing on specific scenes or events, Heath photographs lived, intimate experience: tension in city streets, close constrained bodies and isolated individuals who have seemingly lost their sense of self.
Influenced by W. Eugene Smith and photographers of the Chicago School including Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan, Heath expresses above all his presence in the world by recognizing an alter ego in others absorbed in inner torment. To transform this experience into book form, Heath was guided primarily by concerns of sequence, particularly in Robert Frank’s The Americans and Walker Evans’ American Photographs. In Heath’s words: “For me, the act of photographing is no more than making … diaristic notes that come out of engagement with the world. It is in my sequencing of photographs that I create poetic structure, a connective linkage, not chronological or narrative in development such as a photo-essay, but emotional in development.”
“You never do anything logically, at least some artists don’t, but only out of inner necessity.” Dave Heath