Taryn Simon graduated from Brown University in 1997. Her work questions the role of the image, how it is categorised and its power, in the form of photographs, video and writing. Archives and memory and their context form the subjects of works that have an anthropological quality. Part conceptual art, part political statement, she creates visual inventories of our society.
Her interest in collections and indexes has led her to create series of photographs that reveal what is often hidden, such as An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007) and Contraband (2010). Her investigations often take the form of series. Between 2008 and 2011, for A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII, she collected information and photographs on family trees from around the world, which were then related to political, cultural and social events.