Bruce Sheftel

The photographs in this show reflect the events as they were projected on television screens in PHILADELPHIA, on September 11th, 2001 and the people unaware of the magnitude of the tragedy unfolding-seen as they begin to observe the events being brought into the waiting room of a local hospital.

These two images convey, from a unique vantage point, the unfolding of a sea of change. Out attention focuses on the body language and faces of those experiencing, in real time, the shock wave of the tragic event as it moves away from ‘ground zero,’ and begins to cast its grim shadow. Clearly observed from another urban center, the quills of the event would spread out from NYC and cross, first the United States, and eventually the World, where the twin emotions of ‘disinterest’ and ‘recognition’ would collide – just as the towers would fall in on themselves 0 viewed on millions of screens and reflected on the faces and in the tears of ‘tens of millions’.

Born in Allentown, PA, Bruce Sheftel moved to New York in the early 1970’s after attending workshops with Mary Ellen Mark, Charles Harbutt, and John Loengard. He worked as a studio assistant and press photographer and went on to study with Lisette Model. His unabashed dedication to color photography set him apart from the practitioners of black-&white street photography and brought him into a circle that included Joel Sternfeld and Ernst Haas. He opened his studio on the Bowery in NYC in the early 1970’s. During this time Sheftel documented the NYC punk movement and art scene, turned to fashion photography as a means of supporting himself, and began showing his work and writing about photography. His first show, “Face to Face” was an instillation piece. Removing 12 actors from the environment of their part-time jobs as hair stylists, Sheftel photographed them in his studio and then hung the 24 x 24” prints in their working environment. Customers saw the reflected image of their “operator’ in the mirror before them. His concern was with the twins, ‘truth’ and ‘real’. “I am mostly successful when my photographs reveal the obvious and then a little punch or twist of irony… all the better if there is a dab of cynicism.” His new body of instant color work explores our expectations as we enter and exit different relationships. Bruce, an alumnus of both Antioch College and Harvard Business School, has worked in New York and lived in the Philadelphia suburbs for the past 13 years.