CAMP: Visiting Day

curated by Ariel Shanberg

June 11 – August 28, 2011

The exhibition CAMP: Visiting Day is inspired by the Catskill’s historic ties to sleep away camps and features artists who knowingly revisit the magical realm where youth reigns, adulthood emerges, secret selves are revealed, an identity is transformed.

The artists featured in CAMP: Visiting Day bring a reflective perspective to this charged landscape. Infused with personal memories and experience, they use photography and video to draw the curtains back on a world experienced by some, mythologized by many.

The experience of sleepaway camp goes far beyond the concept of summer vacation. Sandwiched between the close and start of school, nestled within the intense heat of summer, sleepaway camp is a condensed stew of character shaping separation anxiety and identity formation, with emphasis on outdoor physical activities. The experience is intended to provide a sense of community and fostered networks of relationships that extended into adulthood. Started in the early years of the twentieth century as a refuge from urban environments, summer camps combined Native-American and American folklore, sports, and arts and crafts activities. Within the contexts of religious groups, camps were established to help foster and reinforce group identity and engender their own allegiances. In modern times specialized camps have emerged, focusing on honing skill sets and interests ranging from specific sports to the arts and sciences as well as those designed to alter personal behaviors ranging from sexual orientation to body weight and fitness.

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In 1981, while her daughter attended Camp Pinecliffe in Maine, Gay Block made layered and endearing portraits of the young women at this all-girl camp. Wondering “what ever happened to those friends whose lives we knew intimately well for a few short months each year after we scattered back to our ‘real lives,'” Block chose to track down these women now in their late 30s and early 40s and see where they are now. Her resulting diptychs in the series entitled The Women the Girls are Now and video entitled Camp Girls offer a unique opportunity to find the threads that connect the images of these girls whose shared experiences have impacted the women they are today.

For Adrain Chesser, the surprise of finding his boyhood boy scout camp ground following its foreclosure, bought and transformed into a camp for adult gay men was too perfect. Returning to southern Florida from the west coast, Chesser spent time camping and photographing and staging images that echoed his own transformative experiences as a young boy at the very same campground.

As much as camp can be about togetherness, embedded in its experiences is the trials of separation. The shock and fear that can be found in being thrust into such an alien setting as camp can be defining along with the suddenness of being alone. In his 2001 video Nail Biter artist Anthony Goicolea graphically reminds us of those terrifying experiences. Filled with references to folklore and tall tales, Nail Biter calls to mind the affect of hearing those (or perhaps being) one of those haunting tales told around a campfire.

Long before her landmark documentary project Thin, Lauren Greenfield traveled to Camp Shane in Catskill, NY to photograph the young boys and girls who go there to literally transform themselves – at weight loss camp. Greenfield’s photographs reveal the pressures, social structures, and mutual struggles and triumphs these campers experience.

In her series The Cruel Story of Youth, Jennifer Loeber travels back to the camp where she spent summers as a teen. Nestled within the woods of Massachusetts, Rowe camp is grounded in the ideals of a counter-cultural past and freed from the forced constraints of a conventional camp experience. Loeber’s photographs reveal a society of teenagers empowered through otherwise impossible freedoms and celebrate a community where no ideas are too absurd and eccentricity is the rule, not the exception.

Finally in Albert J. Winn‘s stark black-and-white photographs, the haunting underpinnings of a camp emerge. Winn’s images of empty bunks, mess halls, swimming pools and basketball courts are filled with the echoes of joyful experiences, all the while an unabiding sense of loss intermingles with strong visual references to camps of another nature.

– Ariel Shanberg, June 2011

Ariel Shanberg has served as the Executive Director of CPW since 2003.


"CAMP: Visiting Day", June 11- August 28, 2011    Gay Block

"CAMP: Visiting Day", June 11- August 28, 2011Adrain Chesser

"CAMP: Visiting Day", June 11- August 28, 2011Anthony Goicolea

"CAMP: Visiting Day", June 11- August 28, 2011Lauren Greenfield

"CAMP: Visiting Day", June 11- August 28, 2011Jennifer Loeber

"CAMP: Visiting Day", June 11- August 28, 2011Albert J. Winn




curated by Vince Aletti

April 9 – May 30, 2011

I hadn’t really planned it that way, but I began judging the entries for Photography Now, the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s 2011 exhibition, only 10 days after returning from two weeks in Amsterdam as a judge for this year’s World Press Photo awards.

The two experiences could not have been more different, but the first definitely affected the second. In Amsterdam, I was one of nine judges sitting in a darkened room viewing and voting on more than 100,000 images as they flashed by on a big screen. Although there were categories in portraiture, nature, and sports, most of what we saw was hardcore photojournalism, recapping 2010 in disaster and death: Haiti, Mexico, Bangkok, Chile, Pakistan, the Gulf of Mexico. Wherever there were earthquakes, floods, riots, drug murders, assassinations, stampedes, oil spills–and intrepid photographers to cover them. The work was often hard to look at; the process relentless, intense, and exhausting. But if arriving at a consensus for the final awards was often frustrating, the exchange among the judges was always spirited and, in the end, exhilarating.

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After that, judging just over 300 submissions for the CPW exhibition was a breeze. Although much of the work dealt with serious topics, there were no severed heads, no mass graves. I was grateful to see happy children, hummingbirds in flight, a series of wooded landscapes; even if the work was disappointing or ludicrous, it wasn’t painful. And the solitary nature of the process–clicking through images on my home computer screen, with no one else to explain, exclaim, or complain to–made it much faster. But after Amsterdam, I missed the interplay of opinions, or a persuasive colleague’s nudge to go back and look at something again. In a sense, I continued to channel that colleague and kept a running list of entries that deserved a second look, one or two of which made it through to the final ten.

Early on, I began to make a mental list of dos and don’ts for photographers who enter competitions. Do focus on one coherent body of work, but know when you’ve made your point. Don’t include everything–edit and edit again; unless you’re truly brilliant, less is usually more. Do stop to consider where your talents lie–what is it that you’re actually good at? Throwing a bunch of disparate images into a portfolio and leaving it up to the judge to decide what’s best only means that the good gets tossed out with the bad. Don’t (over)explain; if the work doesn’t speak for itself, your artist’s statement won’t make up for it. But do have something to say, and a distinctive, personal way of saying it.

In the end, the work that most interested me was experimental and process-oriented – in several cases (notably, Bradly Dever Treadaway, Mariah Doren & Johanna Paas, Anne Arden McDonald), photographs that involved drawing, collage, or chemical effects. At a time when digitally captured and enhanced photographs can achieve new levels of flawlessness, I find myself increasingly drawn to handmade, inherently flawed images. Certainly, that’s what stood out from the submissions this year–work with some complexity and ambiguity, work that was constructed or crafted, work with a very individual voice. No question, some of the effects that I was most taken with–the lovely, ghostly layering in Matthew Dols‘s Sentimentalist series, Chad Kleitsch‘s celestial lights–were the result of sophisticated digital techniques. But I wasn’t judging the means, I was concerned with the results.

I’ve always been interested in the photographic portrait and ended up choosing two very different approaches to that genre. Yo Imae makes classically straightforward but remarkably sensitive black-and-white pictures of solitary figures that remind me of Judith Joy Ross, and Rita Barros, working in color, arranges close-up details of a person and his environment into an intriguing, Hockney-esque puzzle. But other entries in portraiture didn’t engage me as much as the ones that, even when they didn’t foreground process, flirted with abstraction and mystery: Christa Kreeger Bowden‘s studies of intricate nests and roots; Robin Dru Germany‘s jewel-like, half-underwater views of a luminous seashore; and Mikhail Gubin‘s shots of the flickering spirits behind a grimy window.

No matter the style, the photographers that stopped my clicking finger and made me look closely more than once had one thing in common: a satisfying sense of resolution. They may already have moved onto other subjects and other styles, but with this group of images they found the ideal way to resolve form and content, intellect, and emotion.

– Vince Aletti, April 2011

Vince Aletti reviews photography exhibitions for The New Yorker’s “Goings on About Town” section and writes a regular column about photo books for Photograph. He is the winner of the 2005 Infinity Award in writing from the International Center of Photography, where he was an adjunct curator for the museum’s 2009 “Year of Fashion,” including Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 and Weird Beauty: Fashion Photography Now. Male, a book of photographs and other artwork from Alettiís collection, was published by Andrew Roth’s PPP Editions at the end of 2008, following exhibitions of that work at New York’s White Columns and Vancouver’s Presentation House. The Disco Files 1973-1978, a collection of Aletti’s weekly columns on disco, was published in spring 2009 by DJhistory in the UK.


"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Rita Barros

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011 Christa Kreeger Bowden

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011 Matthew Dols

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Mariah Doren and Johanna Paas

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Robin Germany

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Mikhail Gubin

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011      Yo Imae

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Chad Kleitsch

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Anne Arden McDonald

"Photography Now 2011", April 9 - May 30, 2011Bradly Dever Treadaway


Made in Woodstock V

January 15 – March 27, 2011

Featuring work by CPW’s artists-in-residence from 2007-2009

Made in Woodstock V is the fifth installment of the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s (CPW) series featuring work created by recent participants of WOODSTOCK A-I-R, CPW’s residency program for artists of color working in the photographic arts.

Established in 1999, WOODSTOCK A-I-R is a workspace residency program which provides participants with time, facilities, space, and the critical & technical support necessary to move forward. The program encourages the pursuit of creative risk-taking in an inspiring and supportive environment where, working without distraction, photographic artists can focus intensely on their own work, continue works in progress, layout their goals for the future and break new creative ground. Each resident spent 2-4 weeks in Woodstock, staying at the Villetta Inn at the historic Byrdcliffe art colony. With quiet and solitude, yet enlivened by a community of fellow artists, WOODSTOCK A-I-R participants work in the idyllic environment of Woodstock- a gathering place renowned for its vibrant cultural history.

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Representing the broad range of photographic practices and interests that WOODSTOCK A-I-R helps realize, the 18 artists featured in MIW V engage in an inspired and deeply self-aware dialogue on history, politics, representational concerns, and more. As no two residencies are the same, the exhibition reveals the intensely diverse, dynamic interests of the artists as a group, and addresses each image-makers own particular story and voice.

William Cordova’s (Miami, FL) sets of photographs acknowledge, document, and archive the marginalized histories of the Young Lords and Black Panther Party.

LaToya Ruby Frazier (New Brunswick, NJ) turns the camera on her own family, negotiating complex and fraught familial relationships as both subject and photographer.

A mixed- media artist, Tia-Simone Gardner (NYC) investigates psychological relationships to locations and spaces and the idea of home.

In his cardboard cutout series, Lawrence Getubig (Keysville, VA) reexamines the fantasy genres and narratives of childhood by casting himself as a character in relation to the typical white American male hero.

Working within environmental portraiture, Daniel Handal (NYC) explores a small but burgeoning subculture of young adults who are actively engaged in farming, raising livestock, and living sustainably in the Hudson Valley.

Wayne Hodge’s (NYC) video and photo-based collages critique the influence of historical theater on contemporary visual culture and its role in transforming ideologies of race.

Jeannette Louie’s (West Orange, NJ) articulates the psychology behind emotional states such as boredom, dread, and inattention with photo-collages that evoke the odd, random thought processes of the subconscious.

Hee Jin Kang’s (NYC) photographs of abandoned mattresses in New York City elevate the mundane and everyday into observational poetry.

In an homage to the surrealist artist Claude Cahun and her partner Marcell Moore, the collaborative team of Tarrah Krajnak (Winooski, VT) & Wilka Roig (Ithaca, NY) address representational trends of women within photography.

Deeply struck by the deaths of 7 friends and family in a brief period of time, Emily Hanako Momohara’s (Cincinnati, OH) Koden series contemplates the ritual of bereavement by creating dual portraits of herself and a shadow representing aspects of those who have passed on.

Ricardo Morales-Hernández’s (Lidra, Puerto Rico) superimposed and heavily worked images remake and review history and its artifacts.

Dawit L. Petros (NYC) creates diptyches that address notions of presence and absence within natural environments, addressing the tension between one’s self and surroundings.

Using cutting-edge video gaming technology and referencing tropes of American landscape painting, Tim Portlock’s (Philadelphia, PA) constructed cityscapes examine the changing relationships between communities and urban planning.

Justine Reyes’ (NYC) grouping of photographs tenderly display a set of drawers filled with her uncle’s possessions, presenting memento mori which speak to themes of memory and familial legacy.

Kanako Sasaki (Sendai, Japan) works out of the representational tradition of Japanese ukiyo-e paintings as she poses and photographs herself in a dreamlike, “floating” world.

Lupita Murillo Tinnen’s (Plano, TX) Mourning Sickness series reveals the photographer in a vulnerable, emotionally intense, and cathartic private performance as she deals with grief surrounding her 3-year struggle with infertility.

Inspired by the Hudson River School of Art and drawing from cultural references of the iconic, the monumental, and the symbolic, Donna J. Wan’s (Menlo Park, CA) large-scale photographs of the natural world question and subvert traditional perceptions of landscape.

CPW’s artists-in-residence build upon existing genres, while injecting their own personal inquiries and perspectives. MIW V champions these 18 talented artists of color and provides a forum for a visual engagement with a wide yet interconnected range of photographic methods, interests, and subject matter. Together, they celebrate and enrich Woodstock’s historic role as a home, community, and source of inspiration for generations of artists – past, present, and future.


"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011William Cordova

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011LaToya Ruby Frazier

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Tia-Simone Gardner

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Lawrence Getubig

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Daniel Handal

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Wayne Hodge

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Hee Jin Kang

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Krajnak & Roig

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Jeannette Louie

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Emily Hanako Momohara

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Ricardo Morales-Hernández

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Dawit L. Petros

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Tim Portlock

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Justine Reyes

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Kanako Sasaki

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Lupita Murillo Tinnen

"Made in Woodstock V", January 15 - March 27, 2011Donna J. Wan





Questions Without Answers

Questions Without Answers: Photographs by the Photo Agency VII

curated by Amy Schlegel

October 8 – 31, 2010

Questions Without Answers presents photographs from the renowned VII Photo Agency depicting defining events of the post-Cold War period and their aftermaths, from the Fall of the Berlin Wall and September 11, 2001, to Iraq and Afghanistan, The Balkans and Congo, Chechnya and Gaza, among others.

The unique contributions of the independent photojournalists affiliated with VII are highlighted in more than 125 photographs, newly printed for the occasion, many displayed for the first time. These photojournalists collectively embody the tradition of concerned photography as their mission is to “document conflict — environmental, social and political, both violent and nonviolent — to produce an unflinching record of the injustices created and experienced by people caught up in the events they describe.” As Stephen Mayes, CEO of VII, comments, “[VII’s] work has never been about simplistic representation, but rather about supporting debate and contributing to change.”

The end of the Cold War in 1989 began a new era in world history as globalization, modernization, regional and civil conflicts, complex terrorism, and environmental issues surged to the fore. People, states, and regions struggled to grapple with these ongoing challenges. At the same time, the media was enmeshed in a shift from traditional reportage to the era of multimedia, 24-hour coverage that blurs the distinctions between professional and citizen reporters. This exhibition offers a prism of both cataclysmic events and persistent conundrums of the last several decades.

In 2004, on the occasion of the founding of its program for photojournalism, documentary studies, and human rights called Exposure, the IGL established a partnership with VII Photo Agency. James Nachtwey, a VII co-founder, commented then that “Exposure will help us all to understand photography as a valuable tool that can help us learn how to make sense of the violence, the destruction, the chaos of this world. Exposure will help to create an incredibly important historical legacy, providing meaning in our lives. Most importantly, it can help to create a public awareness integral to the process of change.” Since then, VII photographers have mentored Tufts students in workshops in Argentina, Bali, Cambodia, Kashmir, and Kosovo.

This exhibition has been co-organized by the Tufts University Art Gallery, Tufts’ Institute for Global Leadership and VII Photo Agency, with images selected by the directors of the three organizations, with assistance from a Tufts Exposure leader, Samuel James. The exhibition was curated by Amy Schlegel, director of the Tufts University Art Gallery.

VII gratefully acknowledges Canon USA whose support made many of these photographs and the prints in the exhibition possible.

A River Runs Through Me

curated by Ariel Shanberg

August 8 – September 20, 2009

In conjunction with New York’s Quadracentennial celebrations of the European discovery of what is now known as the Hudson River, the Center for Photography at Woodstock is pleased to present A River Runs Through Me, an exhibition of work by four artists whose photographic explorations celebrate rivers as a source of inspiration and intersection with personal, historical, cultural, and religious significance. Collectively, their works captures the tremendous influence these natural watercourses have on our lives.

Throughout history, rivers have provided the lifeblood to countless societies and cultures, as well as for commerce and as a source of artistic inspiration. In today’s world of global networks, interstate highways, the internet, and more, such rooted connections to what were once the defining element of a civilization (e.g. the Nile River in Egypt, the Euphrates River of the Middles East, the Thames in London, or Paris’ River Seine) are now lost if not severely disconnected. As often is its role, Art continuously offers us the portal to reconnect us to that from which our daily lives are severed. With their individual explorations, the artists featured in A River Runs through Me rekindle a sense of connection and influence as they draw inspiration from, document the nature of, and define the lasting effect rivers hold on us.

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Barbara Bosworth‘s (Stow, MA) work has long focused on her personal connection to the landscape. Featured in this exhibition are images from two bodies of work including The Bitterroot River series (1995-97) and work from her most recent residency at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont a place that was once her childhood home and now is now part of the national park. In her series The Bitterroot River, made along Montana’s Bitterroot River in the years following the death of a loved one, Bosworth employs the river’s elusive surface and constant state of flux as a meditative offering on our temporality while also embracing a more affirmative outlook in the river’s surroundings. Arranged in grid, the resulting installation offers a powerful visual narrative. Accompanying Bosworth’s work from the Bitterroot River series is a new multi-image landscape depicting one of the rivers that flows near by her childhood home. The enveloping sense of the culminating 40″x 90″ work retains the sense of wonderment and personal connection to nature.

In her series The Spoon River Anthology Albany NY native photographer Christa Parravani‘s (Sunderland, MA) brings the words of Edgar Lee Masters’ same titled collection of 244 poems written in the voice of the deceased residents of a fictional town describing the situations that led to their demise; to life. Set within evocative and lush settings of the MacDowell and Yaddo Art Colonies, each image, imbued with a tinge of mystery and melancholy posits the characters much like ghosts anchored to the setting of their mortal life. To Parravani, the individual is a product of his or her environment, and thereby belongs, embossed for eternity, within it. In their final presentation the each character’s poem is placed alongside the framed photograph collaborate to give voice to these fictional individuals who appear to be born out of and bound to their river setting.

Included in this exhibition are works from two series by Elijah Gowin (Kansas City, MO). The majority of images featured belong to Gowin’s series Watering and bring forth references to the religious importance rivers hold and water’s figurative and actual ability to offer a wiping of the past, and offer a sense of spiritual and physical renewal. With Christianity’s Baptismal tradition as a backdrop to this exploration, Gowin’s images lie within an ambiguous in-between state, like their subject matter, frozen within a state of transformation. Alongside works from the Watering series are images from his series Of Floating & Falling which echo the previous body of works’ religious themes with visual explorations of faith and doubt.

Though the Mississippi River never actually appears in the selection of images featured in this exhibition, by Alec Soth (Minneapolis, MN), the River’s presence reverberates through images of landscapes and individuals who live along its banks in his series Sleeping by the Mississippi. Known to the Algonkian Indians as the “Father of all Waters” the Mississippi River with its tremendous literary influence (perhaps most notably in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn) bares many identities along its course. Traveling along its path which covers ten States, Soth’s subjects appear posed before his 8×10 camera professing their dreams as well revealing as their tethered realities. Like the river whose constant stream can both transport us to our promised destination and pull us down to its haunting depths. Soth, who sees photography as closely akin to poetry, offers us through his images, a poetic journey along the Mississippi one that is both languid and jostling, seductive and haunting.

– Ariel Shanberg, 2009

Ariel Shanberg is the Executive Director at the Center for Photography at Woodstock.


"A River Runs Through Me", curated by Ariel Shanberg, August 8 - September 20, 2009Barbara Bosworth

"A River Runs Through Me", curated by Ariel Shanberg, August 8 - September 20, 2009Elijah Gowin

"A River Runs Through Me", curated by Ariel Shanberg, August 8 - September 20, 2009Christa Parravani

"A River Runs Through Me", curated by Ariel Shanberg, August 8 - September 20, 2009  Alec Soth


Photography Now 2009

juried by Charlotte Cotton

June 13 – July 26, 2009

The open submission process garnered a lively and diverse range of points of view about what, right now, constitutes photographic practice.

The scope of the photographs was a timely reminder to me that photographers continue to address the rapidly changing notion of photography – both by rephrasing the language and processes of analog photography and also by rendering artistic ideas with the new default techniques that digital photography offers us. The final choice of eight photographers hinged on my belief that they each showed a creative sentience for the enduring capacities of photography within a changing technological climate and a time when the gallery wall rather than the magazine page is the focus of much of the most innovative photography today.

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Lacey Terrell, Yijun Liao, and Betsy Seder each find their own routes through the much trammeled terrain of ‘constructed’ photography. In her offSET series, Lacey Terrell uses her role as a Still Photographer on film sets to find pungent, ‘off-camera’, compositions. She subverts the constructed scenes which are geared towards the vantage point of the film camera by focusing to the side of or in opposition to the conventional view. Terrell merges the fiction of the film sets with the unscripted reality of what her camera finds. That heady mix of photographic fact and constructed fiction is also present in Yijun Liao’s Stills from Unseen Films. In this series of one-off ‘scenes’ each image depicts a figure in an interior from films that exist only in Liao’s imagination. Liao composes her photographs and her subjects into pronounced yet ambiguous scenarios. She transfers the exploration for the narrative of the unseen film from her imagination to ours.

Betsy Seder’s series Time and Space Died Yesterday is inspired by Antonioni’s dystopic 1962 film L’Eclisse and the imposing architecture of the mid-twentieth Century Italian Dictator, Benito Mussolini’s Fascistic Italian city, EUR. Seder eloquently rephrases the monochrome language of Antonioni’s film to create sparse and unsettling visions of EUR. In her choice to photograph the least Italianate architecture of the city, Seder opens up the narrative of the work beyond its specific locale to the universal use of architecture within dictatorships and political regimes of the 20th century.

Clint Baclawski’s free-standing lightboxes are, similar to Seder’s imposing black-and-white photographs, a refreshing injection of drama and physicality into architectural photography. Baclawski’s antenna for the moment when a space and the choreography of its inhabitants fuse into a spectacle is sharp. Coupled with the final resolution of his select images into their sculptural form, Baclawski draws out the material spectacle of photography.

Alex Aristei’s diaristic, off-kilter framing of lived moments is both very much within a current vein of contemporary art photography as-well-as an homage to the enduring potential of photography. His style of photography is one that I call ‘waiting for pictures to happen’ – a vocabulary of pictures that are all culled from the permission that a camera gives to look photographically at the world around us. The cumulative effect of a mosaic of Aristei’s photographs is a reminder of the potent visual charge that the medium gives to day to day experiences.

Shane Lavalette and Stacey Tyrell have both created bodies of work that locate a small community within their distinct landscapes. Stacey Tyrell’s gentle photographs of the people and places on the island of Nevis in the West Indies subtly narrates the emotions of a migrant’s return to ‘home’ and the mixed emotions of longing and displacement. In Shane Lavalette’s portrayal of the landscape and inhabitants of a national park in County Clare in Ireland, Lavalette thoughtfully and plainly brings together the beauty and contemporary politics of this rural area. Both photographers update and re-work the language of documentary photography in substantial ways and, in so doing, remind us how photography continues to commemorate the visual legacy of history upon the earth and its communities.

Toshihiro Yashiro’s strange, vibrant photographs were the strongest fusion of photography and performance that I saw in this year’s submissions. His KAITENKAI series (the title blends the Japanese words for revolving and revolution) documents his performances in public and domestic spaces where objects and human participants’ rotate on fixed points and their circular movements captured with long exposures. Yashiro, resplendent in his clown-meets-superhero costumes, appears as the ring master of the KAITENKAI Live! performances. While the history of photography documenting artists’ performances is playfully being referenced in Yashiro’s work, I have literally never seen photographs quite like these. As with all the photographs selected for Photography Now 2009, they are resonant with photography’s past but make their own departure.

– Charlotte Cotton, 2009


Charlotte Cotton is Curator and Head of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Previously, she was Head of Programming at The Photographers’ Gallery in London and Curator of Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum (1992 to 2004) and Head of Programming at the Photographers’ Gallery in London (2004-5). She has curated many exhibitions of historical and contemporary photography including, “Imperfect Beauty: The Making of Contemporary Fashion Photographs” (2000), “Out of Japan” (2002), “Stepping In and Out: Contemporary Documentary Photography” (2003) and “Guy Bourdin” (2003). Charlotte is the author and editor of publications such as Imperfect Beauty (2000), Then Things Went Quiet (2003), Guy Bourdin (2003) and The Photograph as Contemporary Art (2005). Currently she is preparing for two touring exhibitions for LACMA for 2009 – “Heavy Light: Recent Photography” and “Video from Japan and New Topographics”.


   Alex Aristei

Clint Baclawski

Shane Lavalette

Yijun Liao

Betsy Seder

Lacey Terrell

Stacy Tyrell

Toshihiro Yashiro


Converging Margins

curated by Leah Oates

November 8, 2008 – January 11, 2009

Historically, artists have lived to some degree or another on the margins of society – seen as neither working class nor upper class.

Because of such a fluid identity, artists are able to interact with people and communities from a diverse range of backgrounds. They are often drawn to life on the margins as it represents a distancing from the norm and allows for more freedom of thought and action. By choosing not to belong to any one sector of society and by remaining ‘unclassifiable’ artists can break through existing barriers between often disparate sectors of society.

Converging Margins highlights 11 photographers whose work shows us what it is to be human and how mutable identity is even in a time in which people are becoming more attached to concepts of race, beauty, class, religion, and ethnicity. The photographers featured in Converging Margins have established and maintained long-term relationships with their subjects, and through the act of photographing, they become a fixture of these communities and transcend any perceived barriers by making their art.

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Paul D’Amato happened upon the Mexican neighborhood of Pilson in Chicago in 1988.  Feeling drawn to the energy of the poor and “rough” neighborhood, D’Amato spent the next 15 years returning to photograph the people of Pilson. He began by photographing the notorious gang, “La Raza”, whose trust gained him access to the community at large, inviting D’Amato to weddings, quinceneras and dinner.  He photographed as a member of this community, from the inside looking out.

Juliana Beasleyhas been photographing in the Rockaways region of Queens, New York for several years. Her images are imbued with the mystery and melancholy her subjects exude.  Over the years Beasley has become friends with many of the people she photographs and has come to consider the Rockaways a place full of magic and wonder. Her portraits reveal the raw human energy of challenged people living life fully on the edge of mainstream society.

Artists often move away from the towns or small cities in which they grew up in only to return seeking a sense of connection to family, friends, and places left behind.Richard Gary, Rachael Dunville and Deana Lawson have each returned to photograph people and places from their past in order to capture the essence of the moments and relations that shaped them. They view their hometowns with a removed perspective but with the genuine desire to connect and reexamine the moments and people from an earlier chapter of their life.

Lauren Greenfield’s multi-media project, Thin documents women who are fighting their obsession with making their own bodies painfully and dangerously thin. Not only have these women marginalized and become psychologically detached from their own bodies, but they show the human mind’s ability to marginalize us from ourselves and others. Through her process of filming, interviewing, and photographing her subjects, Greenfield allows us to witness their struggle, understand its complexity, and see the fragility of the human body under self-imposed stress.

The series The Girl of My Dreams began when Stacy Renee Morrison accidentally found a trunk of keepsakes once owned by Sylvia DeWolf Ostrander, a woman born 133 years before Morrison’s own birth. Compelled by the mysterious trunk, Morrison began to research Ostrander’s genealogy.  Shortly thereafter, Ostrander began appearing in Morrison’s dreams. Through her photography, Morrison created a place where the two women could converge. With Morrison serving as Ostrander’s surrogate in the images she effectively connects the living and the dead and brings a long-forgotten woman to life.

Each year, Miles Ladin photographs the fashion shows at Bryant Park during NYC’s Fashion Week as well as the after parties that are attended by the ‘rich and famous’. Ladin has been photographing these events for several years and as a result of his familiar presence, he has become part of this culture. With the intimacy of an insider, Ladin’s images allow us to peak into such exclusive private gatherings and consider the spectacle of public identity.

Lucas Foglia’s photographic portrait of a neighborhood garden in Providence, Rhode Island reveals such endeavors as a place for people who live within a larger community but come from different backgrounds to gather, work side by side, and transcend cultural and societal boundaries. Foglia’s images additionally celebrate the community garden as a meditative space where locals are able to participate in a collective enterprise and create beauty.

Ed Templeton began skateboarding at age thirteen in California. Through skate culture Templeton found a forum to discuss racism and homophobia and in turn has come to serve a pioneering role in making skateboarding a leading cultural force. Skateboarding, now a worldwide culture (and industry) attracts people from all sectors and margins of society. Ed Templeton’s photographs and site-specific installations echo the feeling of a living scrapbook and suggesting skaters as a nomadic collective family.

Stephen Schuster has said that “Nobody knows the city like the graffiti writer”.  His documentation of graffiti writers and their environments reveals their vision of the city and its discarded spaces as the experience of subject and photographer collide in this show.

Collectively, the artists in Converging Margins cross real and perceived boundaries through the process of photographing to show us that life is extraordinary in every way, in every place.

— Leah Oates, Curator, Station Independent Projects


Leah Oates is an independent curator and artist who has organized over 30 exhibitions and projects over the past 10 years at venues such as Nurture Art Gallery, Artists’ Space, OIA Gallery, Chashama Gallery, Peer Gallery, and The Kaufmann Arcade Gallery all in NYC. In 1999, Oates served as the in-house curator for Chicago’s Peace Museum where she organized historical exhibitions about the peace movement in the US as well as readings and lectures. Oates currently writes for NY Arts Magazine and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

"Converging Margins", curated by Leah Oates, Station Independent Projects, November 8, 2008 - January 11, 2009Juliana Beasley 

"Converging Margins", curated by Leah Oates, Station Independent Projects, November 8, 2008 - January 11, 2009Paul D’Amato

"Converging Margins", curated by Leah Oates, Station Independent Projects, November 8, 2008 - January 11, 2009Rachael Dunville

"Converging Margins", curated by Leah Oates, Station Independent Projects, November 8, 2008 - January 11, 2009Lucas Foglia

"Converging Margins", curated by Leah Oates, Station Independent Projects, November 8, 2008 - January 11, 2009Richard Gary

"Converging Margins", curated by Leah Oates, Station Independent Projects, November 8, 2008 - January 11, 2009Lauren Greenfield

"Converging Margins", curated by Leah Oates, Station Independent Projects, November 8, 2008 - January 11, 2009Miles Ladin

"Converging Margins", curated by Leah Oates, Station Independent Projects, November 8, 2008 - January 11, 2009Deana Lawson 

"Converging Margins", curated by Leah Oates, Station Independent Projects, November 8, 2008 - January 11, 2009Stacy Renee Morrison

"Converging Margins", curated by Leah Oates, Station Independent Projects, November 8, 2008 - January 11, 2009Stephen Schuster

"Converging Margins", curated by Leah Oates, Station Independent Projects, November 8, 2008 - January 11, 2009Ed Templeton



Toni Pepe

Angle of Repose

November 8, 2008 – January 11, 2009

It’s my dream. A world where all would be silent and each thing in its last place, under the last dust.
-Samuel Beckett, Endgame

Absence and presence is a recurring theme within this series, implying that each image works to reference something beyond the frame. Photography best portrays this thematic approach since by nature; photographs possess a fundamental quality of absence. All of the elements within the frame—the props, costumes and gestures prompt the notion and tangibility of loss and memory. If we had never met could I still have a memory of you? Can we make present something that is absent?

A variety of performative devices from theater, cinema, and literature reconstruct visions and moments experienced within the walls of the character’s mind. References to memory are embedded in her gestures and body language. Though the poses are appropriated from family photographs, at the same time they evoke the classical and art historical. Recurring motifs such as dust suggest the past, calling to mind the idea of remains and decay. In addition, the embroidered napkins emphasize the notion of memory, domesticity and the familial. The lines of text along with the truncated narrative approach underscore the ambiguity of memory and the inability to organize it linearly.

– Toni Pepe, 2008

Toni Pepe recently completed an MFA in Imaging Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2007. She received a BA from Michigan State University in 2003. “Angle of Repose” was recently exhibited at the Bernard Toale Gallery in Boston, MA in spring 2008. A solo exhibition of her series “Reasonably Poised” was shown at IMG Gallery in Winthrop, Ma in 2006. Toni Pepe’s work has also been included in exhibitions at such venues as the Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA; the Griffen Museum in Winchester, MA; Nook in Rochester, NY; Gallery Aferrro in Newark, NJ; Real Art Ways Gallery in Hartford, CT; and mulitple shows at RIT’s SPAS Gallery in Rochester, NY. Pepe currently lives and works in Winthrop, MA.

Mickey Smith



August 30 – October 28, 2008

The exhibition “Collocations” features a selection of works from “Volume”, an ongoing project documenting bound periodicals and professional journals in public libraries. Most of these publications are being replaced by their online counterparts. Several titles photographed in the process of this project have been destroyed. Searching endless rows of these utilitarian texts, I am struck by the physical mass of knowledge and tenuousness of printed works as they fade from public consciousness.

The act of hunting for and photographing these objects is fundamental to my process. I do not touch, light, or manipulate the books and words – preferring to document them as found in the stacks, created by the librarian, and positioned by the last unknown reader.

The irony and graphic quality of repeating titles fascinate and draw, no matter how mundane, from known to obscure, from Vogue to Blood. I focus on simple, provocative titles that transcend the spines on which they appear.

–  Mickey Smith, 2008

Born in Duluth, Minnesota, Mickey Smith earned her BA in Photography from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 1994. Her work has been shown in such diverse spaces as Invisible-Exports, New York; Ellen Curlee Gallery, St. Louis, MS; Carlton College Gould Library, Northfield, MN; Open Book Gallery, Minneapolis, MN; and the Post Office and Public Library of Cooperstown, ND.  Her imagery has also exhibited abroad in St. Petersburg and Vyborg, Russia as well as Pingyao, China.  Additionally, Smith has received the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Photography as well as grants from Forecast Public Art Affairs and CEC ArtsLink, and has held residencies at the Society for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City, MO and the Oberholtzer Foundation, Mallard Island, MN.  In November 2008 she will have her first solo exhibition in NYC at Invisible-Export Gallery. Smith currently lives and works with her husband in NYC.