Geoff Dyer on Peter Mitchell’s Scarecrows

We absolutely love this. Geoff Dyer writes on Peter Mitchell’s Scarecrows in the New York Times, bringing them to life with his ineffable, free-ranging prose.
 
‘Like these effigies, and unlike statues, the scarecrows are far from permanent, let alone immortal. So it is appropriate that Mitchell’s photographic record does not aspire to the taxonomic rigor associated with, say, Bernd and Hilla Becher’s gridded images of industrial structures. It’s more like a bunch of street portraits, done slowly, in fields. Time, in its physical manifestations — rain, wind and sun — takes its toll. The snowsuit becomes smeared in what looks like blood, as if it has barely survived some frosty and atrociously extended ordeal. A bloody wound suggests that crows have begun to peck away at its Promethean liver. Eventually the clothes rot away, so that the scarecrows acquire a Lear-on-the-heath air of tragedy: “Off, off you lendings!” The difference is that whereas Lear discovers that beneath the clothes are “poor naked wretches,” these guys are their clothes. Patched together not from stolen body parts but lent clothes, there is, nevertheless, a Frankensteinian quality to them: They are, by definition, scary.’
© Peter Mitchell
© Peter Mitchell

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