Behind the Lens: Interpretive Presence in Photography

November 25, 2015 – January 23, 2016
Sponsored by Dr. Michael Neste & Family Health West, John & Penny Hopkins, and Safari Ltd.
Artist lecture December 4, 5pm
First Friday reception December 4, 6:30-9pm

Photography has become the vernacular of the twenty-first century. Image-making and image-sharing are now constant components to the way humans communicate. It is how we document our daily lives. While the advantages for accessibility go without saying, one drawback to this shift in the practice of photography is that photographs are often conflated with objectivity. Our instinct is to accept them as fact or truth, when photographs are as much a reflection of their maker’s aesthetics and visual priorities as they are a depiction of the subject. Behind the Lens presents two photographers, wholly different in practice, whose work calls attention to the authorship of image-making. Arthur Lavine and Andrea Wallace share an investment in subject matter that is evident in the decisive way they frame their compositions. Both artists often traffic in portraits, whether those portraits are of people, a place, or an object. Wallace engages with her subjects directly by posing them or pointing the camera into their gaze. Lavine does so indirectly by making them the focal point in an otherwise forgotten scene. Their work exposes the artistic interpretation that happens with each capture, even if what is shot falls under “documentary” photography.

Originally from Massachusetts, Andrea Wallace is the Artistic Director of Photography and New Media at Anderson Ranch Arts Center. She earned her MFA in Photography and Electronic Media at UC-Boulder and worked as an Assistant Professor at Lake Forest College and Willamette University. She has exhibited throughout the Americas, Europe, China, and the Middle East. Wallace uses personal histories and shaped environments to compose intimate photographs rich in metaphor.

Throughout his career, Arthur Lavine has blurred the boundary between photojournalism and fine art photography. Born in 1922 in Trenton, NJ, Lavine served in the Pacific as a photo lab technician and non-combat photographer for the US Army Signal Corps during WWII. In the 1950s he worked as a freelance photographer for such magazines as Newsweek, Esquire, the New York Times Magazine, Glamour, and others. While many of his images capture candid moments, they are far from arbitrary or accidental. With a studied eye, Lavine is specific when it comes to the angles he chooses to shoot from, even if he has only a matter of seconds to make those choices before the moment is gone.

left image: Arthur Lavine, Moving Day, 1952
right image: Andrea Wallace, The Garden, 2014

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