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Sam Taylor-Wood 

Artist's Crying Men on view at Jackson Fine Art

Sam Taylor-Wood is one of the most glam members of the Young British Artists that included Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, who ruled Cool Britannia in the 1990s. Taylor-Wood is an artist known for her video work and photographs, which often have used a coterie of beautiful people and celebrities to examine issues of exterior versus interior, mortality and masculine vulnerability, as in her Crying Men photographs of weeping actors such as Daniel Craig, Forest Whitaker and Ed Harris on view through Oct. 27 at Jackson Fine Art.

What did these actors do and think about to start crying? Did any of them share with you what they were crying about? Every single one of them was completely unique in their experience. It's important to know that absolutely none of them knew that they had to cry for the photographs. So they all arrived thinking I was just going to take their portraits. In the letter I kind of made them aware that maybe it could end up in a gallery or a museum so they were interested obviously, [in] that it was a whole different portrait than the one for magazines.

What is it about celebrity that so intrigues you? Or is it not so much celebrity that you feel like you are making something almost cinematic and need actors to do it? Celebrity is not what interests me at all. What interests me is the acting. What I wanted to look at with Crying Men is that sort of balance between, when you're looking at it, "Are they acting, or is this real emotion?" Just because it's staged doesn't mean that they are not actually feeling what they're going through. It's that question as to the truth in emotions.

After two bouts with cancer, you have really had to connect with mortality and life's fleeting nature, things that photography has often been about. Human vulnerability, but especially male vulnerability, seems of interest to you. Will this be an idea you will continue to explore? When I went through all the experiences of cancer and chemotherapy and being faced with my mortality, I was pretty stoic through it. I think partly my stoicism came from having Angelica, my daughter, and feeling I couldn't just collapse. So I said jokingly to someone, "I hired all these famous actors to shed tears for me."

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