Facing the Lens: Portraits of Photographers
On view January 21 – August 28, 2011
Minneapolis, MN—January 21, 2011. An exhibition of photographic portraits of photographers is on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA). Comprising sixty-five photographic portraits drawn largely from the permanent collection, “Facing the Lens: Portraits of Photographers” includes pictures that date from the 1880s until the present. Photographers in the exhibition include Ansel Adams, William Eggleston, Cindy Sherman, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Weston.
From the beginning of photography, in 1839, the majority of subjects placed before the camera have been people. Most people believe in the accuracy of the medium, because photographs are taken directly from nature and do not usually involve the hand of the artist. In “Facing the Lens”, the eye of the photographer is examined as a metaphor for seeing and the act of photographing and the use of cameras are suggested as an extension of the photographer’s eye.
Among the well-known photographers portrayed in this show is Alfred Stieglitz, who, in the 1890s, was the first American to successfully fight for photography to be recognized as an artistic medium. Also pictured are twentieth-century kingpins of West Coast landscapes, such as Weston and Adams. Eggleston, often credited with legitimizing color work for creative photographers in the 1970s, is intimately depicted in his Memphis home.
“Facing the Lens” also includes some vernacular portraits, to emphasize the ubiquity of “people pictures” in the everyday world. There are online contributions from those who visit the MIA’s website (www.artsmia.org) as well as a small selection of expired passports and drivers licenses to convey just how inaccurate photographs can be.
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