I was in New York and the hotel we were staying in was only around the corner from the Photography centre so was on my list of places to visit. There were three exhibitions on public view but I must be honest I thought there would be far greater access to the vast collections of images that are held there. However there is an e-museum link that will be useful as reference in the future.
Urbes Mutantes: Latin American Photography 1944–2013 (Mutant Cities)
An eclectic mix of mainly black and white documentary images of 8 Latin American cities dating from 1944 up to 2013 . Arranged into sections depicting cities in transition and life under a repressive dictatorship
Stupidly I only had a few scraps of paper & pen with me so I struggled to make very comprehensive notes as I looked around the exhibition. I have tried to do a bit of internet research on a couple of the photographers featured I but have not found a great deal. Hence my reflections are rather scrappy as I only made quick notes on my personal favourites !
A black and white silver gelatin image by Mauricio Valenzuela , a Chilean photographer , caught my eye. The city , shrouded in fog , made metaphorical use of the weather to imply how the dictatorship of Pinochet permeated society.
A full length portrait by Leon Ruiz , Columbian , subverted the genre using a low angled view , usually reserved for the rich and powerful, empowering the impoverished man he shot.
The portrait of cross-dresser Evelyn ,Chilean, by Paz Errazuriz was a favourite of mine. Part of a section of images entitled I want to be me. I like the framing which places the subject at the edge of the frame, I should imagine Evelyn lives/lived on the fringes of society. Errazuriz has captured the exuburence of his subject which is reflected back at the viewer and I can imagine Evelyn perhaps dancing around the room in front of the photographer.
Somewhere in France: John G Morris and The Summer of 44.
Morris a Life magazine photo editor was allocated the task of organising the photo coverage of the D-Day invasion. Not a photographer himself his personal images were never intended for public viewing and were not to be seen for 70 more years. A poignant small collection of prints was on display capturing a time of world change. I love history and looking at these images was a reminder of how ordinary people are caught up and involved in extraordinary events. The faces of the captured enemy , such young boys , are haunting as is the image of a young woman accused of being a collaborator. I found the images very moving : they re-inforce the ultimate futility of war.
A display of large scale landscapes , which were huge, and smaller photo-collages by the Brazilian photographer Caio Reisewitz. The larger scale images of buildings and the Brazilian rainforest were so full of detail it was best to simply sit and scrutinise them. His images examine the relationship between the city and the natural world and how each encroach on the other. One of the large landscapes intrigued me , Baoan 2010 , initially as I sat and looked at it there seemed to be no trace of human habitation but on closer inspection there was a wheely bin in the middle of the forrest. The accompanying exhibition guide notes “ his large scale works have also begun to incorporate small collage elements that are at first easy to miss. Digitally inserted into otherwise realistic scenes , they seem calculated to test the viewers attentiveness to the content of the image” Christopher Phillips, Curator, International Centre of Photography , New York , 2014.