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Photography Now 2006

PHOTOGRAPHY NOW 2006

curated by Natasha Lunn

April 8 – June 11, 2006

Having grown up in the Woodstock area, it is a particular privilege to be invited to juror the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s annual Photography Now exhibition.

It was a challenge to edit down the 2,000 extraordinary and compelling images that were submitted from around the globe. In the end I found some of the strongest entries were portraits.

A portrait often reveals less about the individual portrayed than it does about how the photographer sees their subject. Siri Kaur‘s portraits focus on the private lives of strangers. Her interpretations of them allow us to relive her fantasies and the curiosity we all have undoubtedly experienced regarding a person’s true identity. In each of her Chapters Caitlin Atkinson’s constructed scenes expose human vulnerability and represent fear and failure in ordinary life. Emerging from personal narratives, Caitlin allows us to comfortably dwell on the awkward moments of life. Adolescence is a period of exploring boundaries and testing limits in effort to define our own personalities often within the group structure. Lydia Panas’ images explore the emergence of power dynamics among youth. Through both natural and controlled arrangements of teens before her camera, she presents diverse relationships and reveals how personalities emerge and retreat. Michal Chelbin’s images of small town performers in Russia and the Ukraine are filled with tension that present the viewer with layered contradictions. In the photographs, her subjects appear before us as if floating between two worlds – that of the illusionary grandeur as circus performers and their more sedate private realms. They reveal an inner struggle between who we are and who we may become.   

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The portrait as a document of record is a powerful tool, which can introduce us to the new and unfamiliar, transferring the everyday into a still moment for our examination. In warm and sincere portraits of his relatives at their annual family reunion in Minnesota, Mike McGregor eludes the third wall – that invisible barrier between a photographer and their subject – and captures his family unguarded without pretension – relaxed, standing, (or wading), before his camera. Photographer Honey Lazar‘s collaboration with Barbara Miller, the Amish woman who is the subject of her portraits, offers a level of intimacy and familiarity not often seen in portraits of the Amish made by an outsider. Arantxa Cedillo’s images of Bellevue Hospital offer a sense of unusual calm within a place known for its chaotic atmosphere. By photographing the in-between places, she creates a portrait of an environment through which we can contemplate a larger discussion about health care.

Expanding on notions of portraiture, I have included two photographers whose pictures are not portraits in the traditional sense but do reflect the essence of what a portrait does – communicate something individualistic about its subject. B.A. Bosaiya’s images of insects are not simply magnified scientific studies, but also offer the personification of something within that we can relate to on a humanistic level. Torrance York’s images of a New York State dairy farm and its country roads provide artistic interpretations of the region’s unique character and landscape, while quite literally presenting a portrait of Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

It is a difficult task to define what photography is now. In selecting these nine photographers I hope you will be as impressed as I am with their contributions. My thanks and appreciation to the staff at the Center of Photography at Woodstock for hosting this annual exhibition and their endless support of photography in this community; and a very special thanks to each of the photographers who shared their work with us. 

– Natasha Lunn, Photo Editor, The New Yorker, 2006

A former Deputy Photo Editor at The New Yorker, Natasha Lunn has served as a Contributing Photo Editor at The New York Times’ Style Magazine and worked as an Editorial Liaison for photography cooperative Magnum Photos. She is now the Director of Photography at More Magazine, where she has worked since 2010.

"Photography Now 2006", selections by Natasha Lunn, April 8 - June 11, 2006Caitlin Atkinson

"Photography Now 2006", selections by Natasha Lunn, April 8 - June 11, 2006B.A. Bosaiya

"Photography Now 2006", selections by Natasha Lunn, April 8 - June 11, 2006Arantxa Cedillo

"Photography Now 2006", selections by Natasha Lunn, April 8 - June 11, 2006Michal Chelbin

"Photography Now 2006", selections by Natasha Lunn, April 8 - June 11, 2006   Siri Kaur

"Photography Now 2006", selections by Natasha Lunn, April 8 - June 11, 2006Honey Lazar

"Photography Now 2006", selections by Natasha Lunn, April 8 - June 11, 2006 Mike McGregor

"Photography Now 2006", selections by Natasha Lunn, April 8 - June 11, 2006Lydia Panas

"Photography Now 2006", selections by Natasha Lunn, April 8 - June 11, 2006Torrance York