Friday, October 17, 2014

The Southern Photographer at ACP -- October 2014

The Southern Photographer was honored to take part last weekend in the Portfolio Review conducted as part of this year's Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival.

We saw lots of fine work, much of it by photographers working in the American South, of whom we will have more to say in future posts.

For now, my thanks to Amy Miller and her staff members Waduda Muhammad and Michael Murphy for organizing an exceptionally well-run event.

Part of the event for us was a gallery tour, which included stops at Jackson Fine Art, the Hagedorn Foundation Gallery, the Lumiere Gallery, and the High Museum of Art

These stops were well-chosen to give us an overview of fine art photography from the days of black-and-white to the present, when shooters are using a wide range of imaging skills to expand photography's subject matter from direct representation of the external world to exploration of imaginative worlds and presentation of unique visual experiences.

 At the Jackson, gallery owner Anna Skillman treated us to delicious food and good conversation about the gallery's current exhibits of work by the European photographer Rudd van Empel, New York-based photographers Richard Selesnick and Nicholas Kahn, and Atlanta-based multimedia artist Carolyn Carr

At the Hagedorn,  Brenda Massie, the gallery's Director, showed us work by a wide range of contemporary photographers Not From Around Here.

This included the work Amy Miller and Waduda Muhammad are looking at in the image above, by Atlanta-based photographer Steve Aishman,  whose work comes with imbedded videos of the composition of the work, so that the image one sees on the wall is only the beginning of the visual experiences Aishman has to offer.

Also at the Hagedorn at the moment is work by New York-based (but educated at SCAD) photographer Claire Rosen and Argentinian photographer Guillermo Srodek-Hart.

Massie graciously showed us the storage room at the Hagedorn, crammed with an incredible array of work, among which I was glad to see Chapel Hill-based photographer Susan Harbage Page well represented. 

All of the work in view at the Hagedorn was presided over by this fine furry critter, who seemed not at all confident that we strangers were up to any good. 

Nearby, at Lumiere Gallery, owner Robert Yellowlees and his assistant Tony Casadonte gave us a tour of their historically-oriented current exhibits Masters of Photography,  including works by Berenice Abbot, Dorothea Lange, and other major 20th-century photographers, and Radiant Energy: Wynn Bullock, a show exploring the career of this distinguished photographer whose work is also on view now at the High Musuem of Art (see more on this below).

Yellowlees and Casadonte also showed us early results of their project to recover videotaped interviews of photographers, including Ansel Adams, from the heyday of large-format and documentary photography in California, just as photography was beginning to be recognized as a legitimate fine-art medium.

At the High, we were treated to a tour by Brett Abbott (see image below), the High's curator of photography.

Abbot spoke with well-deserved pride of the growing collection of photographs (now over 6,000 images), the opening of the Lucinda Bunnen Gallery, a space in the museum providing permanent exhibition space for photographs, and the current major show, a retrospective of photographs by distinguished American photographer Wynn Bulloch

The Bunnen Gallery honors Lucinda Bunnen, long-time Atlanta photographer, patron of the arts, and creator of the Lucinda Bunnen Collection of photographs at the High Museum.

Abbott also pointed out how photography is also included in the High's general display galleries when appropriate for the gallery, not isolated in designated display areas.

One example is the large-scale photograph shown to the right in the image above, by world-renowned contemporary photographer Thomas Struth, made in the Atlanta aquarium and on exhibit in the High's galleries of contemporary art. 

On a personal note, the guy in the white cap in the image above is the witty, personable, and exceptionally knowledgeable New York-based photography collector, curator, and consultant W. M. (Bill) Hunt, also in Atlanta to participate in the ACP Portfolio Review. 

I hope to catch up with Bill later this month when he  gives a talk at Raleigh's Contemporary Art Museum; for details of Bill's appearance at CAM Raleigh, go here.

The opportunity to view even a small sample of the photography currently on view in Atlanta is an excellent reminder of the range and diversity of imaging techniques and artistic visions now being employed by fine art photographers.

It is also an excellent reminder of how Atlanta has become an international center of interest in photography, making a home for outstanding galleries and exceptional museum collections, and for ACP, the festival that pulls all this richness together for us every October.

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