Boersma is a veteran documentary photographer who has switched to montaging, recycling, hand-coloring and otherwise manipulating images such as those in his exhibit "Simple Truths," which opens Saturday at the Chicago Public Library Cultural Center.
Even the most conventional of these photographs grabs a punchline as he ribs himself, his subjects and his audience. In one group of self-portraits, for instance, he repeats a serious portrait-perfect pose in four of the five pictures but reverts to a smile in a single frame. A "Momentary Lapse of Memory" is how Boersma captions the piece.
He juxtaposes the cocoon of a life sustained by patio grills, disposable diapers and other such stuff against the hedonistic escapism of superstardom in an allegorical triptych called "The Two Ways of Life"-and presents both ways as dismal. To create his piece, Boersma divided a copy of Oscar Rejlander's 1857 allegorical composite photograph of the same name into three parts and collaged over it. At the top of the center frame, Charlie Chaplin floats above it all. Boersma suggests that life takes the high road only when you take a hard look at it, whether to laugh or cry.