Friday, January 22, 2010

William Eggleston and Fine Art Photography

Southern photographer William Eggleston is widely credited with making color work acceptable as fine art photography, beginning with his 1976 exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art. Color work is now all-pervasive in galleries and museum shows, making B&W work today often seem dated, even quaint.

The story of Eggleston's work and its continuing influence on fine art photography is now the subject of a new book, Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980, by Kevin Moore, with contributions from James Crump and Leo Rubinfien.

Moore documents the work of Eggleston and other early practitioners of color photography, including images by Eggleston, Shore, Levitt, and Meyerowitz, plus a host of photographers they influenced including William Christenberry, Mitch Epstein, Jan Groover, Barbara Kasten, Les Krims, Richard Misrach, Eve Sonneman, and others.

Given the ubiquity of color work these days, its no surprise that for some time folks have been predicting a resurgence of B&W, but so far that hasn't happened. 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

John Scarlata Show at East Carolina University

Distinguished Southern photographer John Scarlata has a show drawn from the body of his life's work, entitled Living in the Light: A Retrospective, now up at the Wellington B. Gray Gallery at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, through  February 20th, 2010.

A native of Long Island, Scarlata studied photography at the Brooks Institute of Photography and theCalifornia Institute of the Arts, receiving his MFA from the latter in 1976. Shortly thereafter, he moved to North Carolina, first teaching at UNC-Charlotte and the Penland School of Crafts. From 1979 until 1999 Scarlata taught at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia. Since 1999 he has been the chair of the photography program at Appalachian State University.

Scarlata's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including recent shows in Cuba and China. He uses primarily large format cameras and printing in a variety of photographic media from 19th century antiquarian processes to digital/inkjet output to create a significant and exquisite body of work.

Influenced early in his career by modernist  photographers such as Edward Weston and Minor White, he has since explored the alternative methods of viewing the landscape suggested by the New Topographics photographers of the nineteen seventies, including Lewis Baltz, Robert Adams, and Mark Klett.

Scarlata's images  invoke and evoke nature and man's interventions in the environment exploring complex interrelationships and subtle beauty.  My friend Diana Bloomfield describes the show as "filled with really beautiful, awe-inspiring work," definitely worth the trip to Greenville.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Titus Brooks Heagins -- Show at Meredith College

Titus Heagens will have a major show of his work at The Frankie Weems Gallery at Meredith College in Raleigh, opening with an artist's talk at 1 pm on January 31st, 2010, and running through April 4, 2010.

Heagins is a Durham-based photographer who describes himself as an ethno/photographer whose work seeks to document the lives and experiences of people of color, especially those descendants of Africa who are now living in the Western Hemisphere. 

The work in the Meredith show intends to question assumptions of race, gender, sexual orientation, ageism, class and religion with images that confront viewers' perceptions of themselves and move the position of "the other" closer for examination.

Heagins holds an MFA from the School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan. He has exhibited widely in the South and across the country. He has won numerous awards and fellowships and his work is included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Anacostina Museum of African American Art and History, the Zoeller Galleries of Lehigh University, and the Museum of Arts at North Carolina Central University.

Heagins was recognized as one of North Carolina's most outstanding photographers in 2006 when his work was added to the collection of the North Carolina Museum of Art and included in its exhibition "Contemporary North Carolina Photography from the Museum’s Collection."

Heagins' work possesses stunning clarity of vision and profound insight into the paradoxes of Southern society, the experiences of people of color, and the complexities of relationships among Southerners of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. He is truly a Southern Photographer To Watch Out For.