I'm Too Sad To Tell You was originally conceived as an archive of self-portraits taken while crying, both by artists and normal people alike. The images were to be displayed online on a website and then later made into a book. An open call, using both an image of myself and the Dutch artist Ban Jan Ader, was posted on the photo sharing community Flickr. People were encouraged to submit their photos over a one month period and by the end over 100 images were collected.
A book and website were made, but during the process many questions arose.
What are one's responsibilities as an artist when using other people's intensely personal images? Because images like this are common and easily accessible on the Internet, are we as viewers desensitized?
So by changing the format through which these images are viewed, can they be perceived differently? As art?
Finally, by collecting very disparate personal images in a book, do they gain a collective power? And if this is true, are we assuming these images were powerless before—or perhaps just lost in the sea that is Flickr?
When my old website expired in 2011, the I'm Too Sad went offline as well. It had been up for 5 years and since many of the original participants were credited with their full names and personal websites, it felt right to let everyone fade back into anonymity. For those interested, though, it is still possible to view the book on Lulu and even download a PDF (free) or order a physical copy (at cost).