Hillerbrand+Magsamen, "Family Portrait", October 30- December 29, 2013



on view: October 30 – December 29, 2013

reception: November 16, 2013 from 4-6pm

Press Release →

As a collaborative team, we draw upon the rich Fluxus practice of incorporating humor, performance, video and everyday objects.

We expand our personal family life into a contemporary art conversation about family dynamics, suburban life and American consumer excess.This new kind of “suburban fluxus” generates work that documents and re-contextualizes our objects and possessions of self, family and culture, the role of the camera in contemporary art and challenging presumptions of the everyday.

We draw no line between the roles we assume in our lives and our art: we are the photographers and the photographed, and our examination of the idea of Family is dependent on the existence of our own. In the age of YouTube and American Idol, we have all become actors and performers. Reality becomes blurred: are we creating a documentary? A fiction?

The House/hold photograph series are portraits of our family that playfully capture slices of our daily life with surreal viewpoints and dark humor inspired by actual events from bath time to laundry. Born out of our ordinary life and evolved into the extraordinary, the photographs were taken in our home with controlled lighting and composition. We are interested in the identity of family and how that is communicated as middle-class Americans living in a suburban home with two children, a dog and too much stuff. Those things that we have worked so hard to obtain become both the burdens and joys in our lives. Titled after literary and mythological characters, we are referencing historical family stories of the heroism and tragedy such as Ophelia, Hercules, Pandora and Sisyphus. Throughout the House/hold photographs the charged personal narratives of our family speak to the structures of identity politics and consumerism.

Embarking on an “epic adventure” in the video Whole, we creates new levels of interaction, communication and exploration by breaking and cutting holes into our actual home to make a habitrail-like environment where we go nowhere fast. With conscious forethought, we critically examine the media grammar in our popular culture today by applying a “Hollywood” aesthetic to their work with layered dramatic music, visually rich cinematography, and faced paced editing. This “style” is juxtaposed against the performance-based video that expands the idea of the home video to a completely new level.

DIY Love Seat, is a playful an experimental short video that reinterprets our family and its identity. In this dark comedy a woman takes the family couch and cuts out a section with a chainsaw. The husband, in a very deadpan manner, takes duct tape and repairs the couch. This physical act brings them literally closer together but perhaps not emotionally.

ETA is short for “estimated time of arrival.” In this video a couple’s tension is illustrated through the enclosed space of a car as rain and thunder dramatically pour down with an impending doom. The end reveals a constructed reality in a suburban environment that plays on ideas of film, theater and reality within a relationship.

Family Portrait is a 4-channel video installation creating “living portraits” of ourselves and our two children. Each member of our family: Father, Mother, Daughter and Son have a video where they are engaging individually in an action. These actions are given an unexpected twist of surrealism such as the daughter getting sucked up by stuffed animals, the son smashing a stack of plates, the mother walling herself into her closet with bricks and feathers and the father standing idle with a garden hose while the barbeque grill ignites. Amid the 4 suspended screens is a mass of used consumer products filling the space. Big Wheels, lawn furniture, old books, weed wacker, toys, clothes, and the list continues about what we hoard and hold onto in our mountain of stuff in our closets, storage containers and garages.

Hillerbrand+Magsamen have presented their videos in prestigious international film and media festivals including SCOPE Basel, WAND V Stuttgarter Filmwinter, Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Boston Underground Film Festival, LA Freewaves New Media Art Festival, Carnegie Museum of Art, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Dallas Video Festival and New York Underground Film Festival. Well known titles of their work include Lick, Air Hunger, Coffee & Milk, Let’s Get Married, Blender Love and Accumulation.

Their cinematic based installations have been seen in Hong Gah Museum in Taiwan, the Hudson River Museum, Center for Photography at Woodstock, Museum of Fine Art Houston, Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film, and Houston Center for Photography. They have been awarded grants from Austin Film Society’s Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund, Ohio Arts Council, Houston Arts Alliance and a Carol Crow Fellowship from the Houston Center for Photography.

They live and work in Houston, TX with their two children Madeleine and Emmett. Mary Magsamen is the Curator of the micro-cinema, the Aurora Picture Show and Stephan Hillerbrand is an Associate Professor in the Photo/Digital Media Program at the University of Houston.

What’s Mine is Yours

What’s Mine is Yours

Curated by Stephanie Brenner

How do we decipher between narcissistic visual diaries and introspective explorations?

People take photographs of themselves and their loved ones habitually, posting them on Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, YouTube or any available online source where they can expose themselves in an attempt to gain attention. When viewing self-portrait and personal narrative photographic work it can often be difficult to get passed this narcissistic self-consciousness that is so prevalent in our culture today. Of course there are great differences between everyday pictures and artists’ photographs, including aesthetics, time and effort, knowledge of the photographic medium, but most importantly, emotive conceptualism. Photographers like Elinor Carucci, Yijun “Pixy” Liao, and Lupita Murillo Tinnen who work in genres of self-portraiture and personal narrative are required to be both sensitive and fearless while revealing themselves and their loved ones. These artists use the personal as a foundation for universal themes that resonate with us whereas the everyday gets lost in cyberspace.

Liao’s artist book, Pimo Dictionary is an extension of her ongoing series Experimental Relationship, which questions traditional ideas about romantic relations. Pimo Dictionary is literally a lexicon of terms derived from everyday conversation and the daily life of Liao and her lover, but in no way is it superficial or one dimensional. Made over the course of her artist residency at CPW in summer 2010, she uses her relationship with her younger Japanese boyfriend, Moro, as a basis for the exploration of sex and power roles, differences in Japanese and Chinese cultures, isolation, disconnection, love and hate. The text is accompanied with images of them together; both are very aware and posed in front of the camera. This artist book, although quite witty and humorous, is an extremely personal portrait not only of Liao but her other half as well. Her fearlessness may have taken her too far in a certain part of the book as Moro scratched out a line of text and wrote “not okay 🙁 -Momo.”

Similarly, Carucci’s photograph, “Grandma Get Dressed”, captures a loved one in a moment that could be interpreted as embarrassing and private, and is indicative of her ongoing photographic exploration that captures the intimacies of her and her family. Carucci’s grandparents, parents, husband, and now children have been the main focus of her work since she started taking photographs at the age of 15. Carucci’s photography reveals the detailed aspects within everyday family relationships and motherhood. Although Carucci utilizes close ups to make her work simultaneously more intimate and universal, her portraiture work of her family members like that of “Grandma Get Dressed”, who are often nude or in various states of undress, exude great understanding and at times vulnerability.

Lupita Murillo Tinnen turns the camera on herself in the series Mourning Sickness made over the course of her artist residency at CPW in summer 2008, while exposing the extremely intimate pain associated with her three-year struggle with infertility. She shares her vulnerability and grief to the world through imagery of cathartic private performances captured in silent, lonely, and bare spaces. Tinnen explains in her artist statement, “accepting the fact that I may remain childless has been the most difficult struggle, the biggest challenge I have ever faced. It felt much like grief and so this work is about the empty feeling and numbness that I felt as I was going through the grieving process.” Although her work is a distinct personal narrative, the content is relevant, especially to the 7.3 million American couples that have had difficulties conceiving.

Self-portraiture and personal narrative work can be controversial but ultimately it stems from making art about what you know best – your life and your loved ones. Whether that is selfish, narcissistic, or brave is entirely up to the viewer. This kind of photography requires generous honesty and thought, and can be used as a way to purge emotions, gain perspective, or to even relate to the rest of the world. Together the works of Laio, Carucci, and Tinnen act as a generational progression of womanhood, starting with Laio’s artist book as young romantic love, Tinnen’s series as the trials of potential motherhood, and ending with Carucci’s photograph of the oldest and most experienced matriarch. These artists reveal their own intimate relationships with family and their experiences of womanhood and motherhood. They deal with the vulnerability of exposing themselves and their loved ones as a result of their creation. In the end these artists make work that while deeply personal transcends individual experience and addresses universal themes that can resonate with us all.

– Stephanie Brenner, Arts Administration Intern, 2011



Curated by Helena Kaminski

We are conceived and born out of a binary system of two individuals.

The understanding of this beginning creates a longing for companionship of our own. The hunger for attaining an orbiting star from which to plot our own geography is a defining factor in developing a sense of self and determining our worldview. Therefore it should be no surprise that historically artists have continuously revisited this theme, whether it be an investigation of their relationship with themselves, others, or the divine. This topic has been explored in the form of observing and capturing other couples’ interactions, photographing one’s own partner and loved ones, and restaging critical or intimate moments. The three photographs on view here symbolically articulate what I perceive as the defining stages of being, with regard to our need for independence, togetherness, and separation.

Louis Faurer (1916 – 2001) was a fashion and street photographer during the 1940s through the 1960s. Though not as recognized publicly as some of his contemporaries, he photographed for such publications as Life, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue. However he is best known for his personal work photographing the streets of Philadelphia and New York. “Eddie” is emblematic of his style. Meticulously composed, Faurer carefully isolated his subject, placing him within a perfectly typical urban setting. The man is blind and shown alone but holds only a newspaper and a few sprigs of flowers. His face shows shyness, and the perspective is slightly withdrawn, observant. There is no suggestion of another individual in the photograph, creating a sense of loneliness.

Elinor Carucci’s (b. 1971) intimate portrait “Bite #2” is an eloquent study of her relationship with her husband, from the series Closer. The series describes personal moments, demonstrated by a very intimate perspective throughout, between the artist and her family. Gently closed eyes and lack of strained muscles on the face implies the couple in this photograph is at ease with each other’s presence. The bite suggests the push and pull of many relationships: the wants and needs of one partner versus the other. These intersections can lay the foundations for a strong relationship or destroy it completely. Or, the bite is simply a sign of affection and an affirmation of their familiarity with each other.

“Betty Field, 1944” is an unusually quiet photograph for fashion photographer Phillipe Halsman (1906 – 1979). Famous for collaborating with surrealist painter Salvador Dali and pioneering “jumpology” (photographs taken while the subject is jumping into the air), Halsman’s photographs are highly constructed. This photograph is of film and stage actress Betty Field, who at the time was two years into a fourteen-year-long marriage to the first of her three husbands, Elmer Rice. Also in 1944, Field was working on The Great Moment, a film by Preston Sturges, which ends with the death of the protagonist, mourned only by his wife. Halsman references the film by using distance to create an atmosphere of removal, both of subject to lens and subject to subject (Field to painting). The window has been left open, suggesting both a sense of escape and absence.

These three photographs individually engage the viewer in specific and distinctive ways. Faurer and Halsman both visually create a sense of detachment, Halsman through his use of distance and symbolism, and Faurer with his choice of subject, while Carucci’s approach to depicting intimacy exemplifies physical togetherness. Unlike Halsman and Faurer, Carucci also utilizes color, which makes her images feel more immediate and relate-able. Faurer observes his subject and photographs to highlight subtle emotion isolation while Halsman uses staging to suggest distance. Working within the different photographic genres, street, contemporary fine art, and commercial, these three photographs illustrate the inevitable stages of our most important interactions.

– Helena Kaminski, Arts Administration Intern

To Feel Authentic

To Feel Authentic

Curated by Akemi Hiatt

While the process and practice of photography has many pluralities, one can increasingly observe a recent incarnation of the form which directs a self-reflexive gaze at the mode of production behind image-making.

To Feel Authentic looks at the myriad issues surrounding the “surface tension” increasingly apparent in the politics of contemporary photographic representation. This practice encourages the viewer away from what one might describe as passive, “window-like” viewing and into an arguably more self-reflexive “mirror-like” viewing. By creating work around the re-use or re-appropriation of existing imagery, Mark Lyon, Chad Kleitsch, and Paul Mpagi Sepuya each address a contemporary concern with simulacra and deploy a visual language which investigates the simulation of depth in photographs. Their images playfully subvert the ideal of “truth” or “reality” often ascribed to camera-generated images and attempt to define the aesthetic relationship we have with the role of art and imagery in postmodern society.

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"Isolation", curated by Alex Myers, 2012



Curated by Alex Myers

In photography, the concept of isolation has many faces.

How alone can a subject be, for instance, when there is a photographer there, directing and making images? Furthermore, when the viewer is introduced to the image, the nature of the seclusion changes; it is observable. Here we have three photographs made by three women photographers. Though each image displays a woman in solitude, the context and implications of their isolations are vastly different.

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Jeff Jacobson


April 13 – June 16, 2013

A few days before Christmas, 2004, I was diagnosed with lymphoma. Some present.

After each chemotherapy session I retreated to our home in the Catskills to recuperate. I began photographing around the house as I was too sick to go anywhere else. As my health returned, I began traveling and photographing across America again.

Shortly thereafter, Kodak discontinued production of Kodachrome. I loved Kodachrome. It had helped shape my photographic vision. I filled my refrigerator and wine cooler with the stuff and kept shooting. A few days before Christmas, 2010, I exposed my last roll.

Jeff Jacobson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1946. His imagery has pushed at the edges of the photographic document, regarding the poetic, experimental, and subjective elements of the world around him. With photographs uniquely defined by his use of strobes, long exposure, and the color inherent in Kodachrome, Jacobson relays interpretations of people and landscapes in loose narratives which emphasize emotional content over informational context and atmospheric mood over cohesive subject.

An accomplished photojournalist who prior to becoming a photographer was a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, Jacobson has been a member of such illustrious groups as the Magnum Photo Agency, Archive Pictures, and Redux Pictures. In addition to The Last Roll (Daylight 2013), he has published two previous books, My Fellow Americans, (University of New Mexico Press, 1991) and Melting Point (Nazraeli Press, 2006). His work is in the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Houston Museum of Fine Art, among others. His work has been exhibited at the International Center of Photography and the High Museum of Art, as well as at venues abroad. He has taught workshops internationally as is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts.


juried by Kira Pollack

April 13 – June 16, 2013

Press Release →

In the midst of the fast-paced, deadline-riddled TIME office, taking a day to thoughtfully review the entries to Photography Now 2013 was an inspiring respite.

Drawing more than 265 entries from around the world, the submitted work spread across all disciplines of photography — from studied portraiture and moody documentary to new and varied artistic approaches to conceptual photography.

The review process introduced me to many new voices and signatures. In the end, however, the work that rose to the top often revealed a sense of place – either through compelling environmental portraiture or empty, subtle landscapes.

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Ilona Szwarc’s terrific series American Girls places girls living in the United States with their lifelike dolls, posing the pairs within their personal and familiar environments. Szwarc’s pictures are both strange and revealing, touching on themes of identity and culture. The portraits evoke an element of fantasy; do the girls look like their dolls or do the dolls look like the girls? Robin SchwartzAmelia’s World and Animal Infinity depicts the photographer’s daughter, Amelia, photographed with animals of all varieties. Aiming to capture the stories humans often relate to the animal kingdom, Schwartz’ photographs set animals as participants in these dream-like fables.

Alinka Echeverria’s pictures in her project Becoming South Sudan are illuminating portraits of an emerging South Sudanese national identity. Looking at Echeverria’s portrait of a young schoolgirl in uniform, we see a quiet power and resilience — the same qualities visually expressed both by Schwartz’ daughter and the young girls of Szwarc’s American Girls. Gary Grenell’s portraits, meanwhile, reflect a sense of neighborhood and community. Taken in the five blocks surrounding Green Lake Park in Seattle, Grenell’s work isolates people in their environments, offering the photographer’s personal vision of an area meaningful to him.

Other artists in the exhibition use photography to explore even more personal journeys. Beth Chucker’s series, A Work in Progress documents her own journey with IVF through the viewpoint of the patient. Her quiet, emotional pictures show a different perspective on a topic without a familiar visual identity. Ayala Gazit’s project, Was It a Dream is a search through photography as memory and the action of photographing the “un-photographable.” Gazit’s emotionally charged pictures show a sense of absence and loss of the brother she never met before he committed suicide.

Samantha VanDeman’s project Forgotten Hotels is a poetic approach to documenting abandoned hotel interiors that have sat vacant for ten to thirty years. The images of empty rooms are jarring reminders of a past that has been lost and serve as emotional portraits of place. On the other hand, Noah Addis’ series Future Cities does just the opposite, showing overpopulated growth settlements and unplanned expansion in the world’s major cities. There is an artfulness to his pictures which reveals itself as one begins to notice the distinct hallmarks of civilization sprinkled among his vast landscapes.

Each of these projects represents a poignant look at the distinctly visual minds of these emerging photographers. Their bold voices offer a promising glimpse of what we may come to expect in the future.

– Kira Pollack, 2013
 Director of Photography, TIME Magazine

Kira Pollack is the Director of Photography at TIME Magazine. Since Pollack joined TIME in October 2009, the brand’s photography has been recognized with awards including the World Press Photo of the Year and the Visa D’Or award as Visa Pour I’Image. In March 2011, she established TIME’s photography site LightBox, which is dedicated to the culture of images and provides a forum for conversation on photography. Previously, Pollack was the deputy photo editor for the New York Times Magazine as well as the associate photo editor at The New Yorker. In October 2011, she was named the photo editor of the year at the Lucie Awards.


"Photography Now 2013" juried by Kira Pollack, April 13 - June 16, 2013Noah Addis

"Photography Now 2013" juried by Kira Pollack, April 13 - June 16, 2013Beth Chucker

"Photography Now 2013" juried by Kira Pollack, April 13 - June 16, 2013Alinka Echeverria

"Photography Now 2013" juried by Kira Pollack, April 13 - June 16, 2013Ayala Gazit

"Photography Now 2013" juried by Kira Pollack, April 13 - June 16, 2013Gary Grenell

"Photography Now 2013" juried by Kira Pollack, April 13 - June 16, 2013Robin Schwartz

"Photography Now 2013" juried by Kira Pollack, April 13 - June 16, 2013Ilona Szwarc

"Photography Now 2013" juried by Kira Pollack, April 13 - June 16, 2013Samantha VanDeman




PR: Jeff Jacobson

Jeff Jacobson

The Last Roll

On view: April 13 – June 16, 2013
Opening reception: Saturday, April 13 from 5-7pm.

The Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) is honored to announce its upcoming solo exhibition and book launch of The Last Roll featuring work by renowned photographer Jeff Jacobson (Mt. Tremper, NY). The debut exhibition of will open at CPW on April 13 and remain on view through June 16, 2013.
A special presentation and book signing by Jacobson will take place on Saturday, May 4, 3-5pm.

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Adie Russell


January 12 – March 31, 2013

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