Philip-Lorca diCorcia

Whitechapel Gallery

Perhaps photography offers an experimental science of coincidence. In the street scenes that are Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s best-known work—represented in this exhibition by ten images taken from the same vantage point on a Havana street over a two-hour period in 1999—people seem to stride purposively forward, but into an abyss. Faces and gestures emerge from the crowd with distinct individuality yet seem disconnected from any context in which they might be consequential. After all, there is a reason each person at a certain street corner happens to be there at a certain time, but there is no particular reason why all of them are there together. Their copresence is unaccountable, insignificant—not coincidental. Only if some unexpected event—say, a photographer’s flash—were to weave these passersby into a single story would their having a place in common be transformed into coincidence. Instead,

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