Andrew Epstein, Ann Boese, Betty Stone, Coco McCabe, Edward Boches, Gail Samuelson, Helena Long, Lee Cott, Ralph Freidin and Anthony Attardo
July 10 – August 30, 2020
Virtual Reception July 24, 2020. 7 - 8 PM
This exhibition is a culmination of a class called From Single Image to Sequence taught by Emily Belz, with Dennis Geller as her teaching assistant, at the Griffin Museum of Photography. Emily’s description of the class began with a quote from Robert Adams.
“Thinking up a project and then making pictures that fit does not, in my experience, usually result in the best pictures. Most of the books I’ve published have started with just walking and photographing free of any plan.” – Robert Adams
To define the pedagogy of the class, Emily writes, “For many photographers, the path from creating a single, compelling image to creating a series or body of work can be challenging to navigate. This class will work to demystify the process of beginning a photography project, and sticking with it. Opening with a series of prompts, photographers will work to identify what motivates their work and areas of image making that they feel passionate about. From this foundation or concentration, students will explore helpful techniques for progressing through a project. Topics will include research; writing about your work; guided editing; and sequencing.”
We offer you a look at the results of this class that we are very proud to host as an exhibition and in a virtual reception on July 24, 2020 from 7-8 PM Eastern Time.
Secrets of My City
If COVID-19 is teaching me anything as a photographer, it’s this: when there’s less to look at there’s more to see. This became abundantly clear when the imposed quarantine and the new practice of social distancing left usually busy streets and neighborhoods void of life.
In this strange, silent, empty moment, I have discovered captivating visual secrets in places usually unnoticed or disregarded. The commonplace seen in unfamiliar ways has revealed uncommon beauty. Marks, grit, splatter, cracks, reflections are transfigured into magical landscapes, ghostly cityscapes, coded messages. My creative vision is permanently changed.
It is as if the abandoned city itself wanted to be noticed, asking me to see what had always been there, but unseen.
Andrew Epstein, July 2020
Single to Series
In April 2020, my supposedly emptying house was abruptly full again. My sons returned. Time rearranged, winding back to a long-past stage of life when my sons’ worlds were much smaller, circumscribed by home and family.
When I look at my work from this strange, heart-rending interval, I see time suspended. At a stage of life when the impetus is to go and do, circumstances compel my sons – and all of us – to wait, turn inward, reflect. We are all Hansel and Gretel searching for a trail of breadcrumbs in the woods, dreamers wondering about what might be next in an altered world. There is danger, but also opportunity. In these reflections, in the pensive mood of this work, I see my sons growing in patience and a tolerance for ambiguity – along with an oblique sense of humor; qualities necessary for creativity and resilience in a re-ordered world.
Ann Boese, July 2020
What She Touched that Touches Me
I have lived my entire adult life missing my mother. I had just turned 21; my mother was only 47 when she died. After 50 years without her, I confess I can no longer hear her voice. I cherish memories of being on the cusp of adulthood when I longed to pull away, yet yearned to stay. Most palpably, I see and feel her in those things I have kept and can touch.
What She Touched that Touches Me began with recipes penciled in my mother’s distinctive script on scraps of paper yellowed with age, recipes, ironically, sometimes never made. The project has grown and expanded since that first seed of an idea. My photographs are a personal exploration of family memory and its vivid connection to the present. They are my musings on what Susan Orlean describes in The Library Book as “see[ing] your life reflected in previous lives and…imagin[ing] it reflected in subsequent ones….” What She Touched that Touches Me is a sensory legacy that begs to be carried forward, and invites the next chapter, “Who might be touched by me?”
Betty Stone, June 2020
When everything came to a standstill during the outbreak of COVID-19, I found I couldn’t. Cooped up at home, I began digging through old boxes, some of which I hadn’t opened in decades. What emerged surprised me: In lifting the stage curtain on family relics, I discovered new stories to tell, stories that would never have taken flight without the constraints of a lockdown. I play a role in these diptych tales, donning garments and fake hair, sipping from China cups and dodging forks. But who is really confronting the lens? And how, in the grip of a pandemic, will these stories end?
Coco McCabe, July 2020
Somewhere Along the Curve
In Boston, a typical spring brings the city to life. Tourists clog the Freedom Trail. Students emerge from their dorms to sun themselves along the Charles River. The well-heeled residents of the Back Bay fill outdoor cafe tables along Newbury Street.
But when the pandemic struck, Boston changed overnight. The ubiquitous duck boats disappeared. Thousands of students never returned from spring break. And instead, empty streets, shuttered businesses and vacant subway cars became the new landscape. These stark, black and white images document the changed landscape as Boston began a new way of life Somewhere Along the Curve.
Edward Boches, July 2020
During the early lockdown months of Covid-19, I was unable to visit my mother who had lived gracefully with Alzheimer’s Disease for nearly a decade but was now nearing the end of her life in assisted-living. Feeling confined and powerless, I turned to my photography for some space. Using only paper, I constructed small sunlit structures: A page torn from a notebook became a roof, a faded pack of construction paper standing on end a courtyard, paper-cutter scraps an entryway. Observing the light in my imagined world comforts me while I wait.
Gail Samuelson, July 2020
The title of this on-going project is ‘Metanoia’, an ancient Greek word meaning a fundamental change of philosophy or world view.
Before Covid 19, I traveled far or walked urban spaces in search of artistic inspiration. The Pandemic ended my usual practice and I was challenged to work within the confines of nearby woods or within my home.
Capturing images, from a radically different set of constraints, has changed my perspective and practice. I am excited to continue along this creative path of more personal exploration and discovery.
Helena Long, July 2020
I have always been drawn to subjects that first appear unremarkable but as I looked deeper I saw that I could reveal remarkable character unseen by others. So it was with buildings or large structures but now I am focusing on the Particulars of my day-to-day.
I take joy from the beautiful visual moments at home where I appreciate the fleeting existence of household still life’s all around me. A sudden shaft of light on a column or a piece of string anchored to a vine are significant domestic visual occasions now writ large in my mind.
Lee Cott, July 2, 2020
After ten weeks of quarantine in a Boston apartment, surfacing into the openness of Cape Cod, I felt the dark mood of the pandemic lift. Stale air of confinement was exchanged for fresh cape air. Soft morning light filled the darkness of emptied streets. While warm afternoon light replaced ambulances’ flashing red lights and the echos of blaring sirens drowned out by waves washing onto the beach.
These images attempt to capture the cleansing of my spirit.
Ralph Freidin, July 2020
Many of the memorable events in our lives occur at night, a time filled with the thrill of darkness. American Vernacular is a series of photographs of ordinary locations suspended between that darkness and the brilliance of artificial light. Hanging there, the buildings and street corners tell a human story, though few people fill the frames. Instead, their absence helps to illuminate the beauty we often overlook in these familiar places. Luminous in the deep night, these locations become—suddenly—remarkable. Viewers are left to contemplate and reimagine ordinary places they visit during the day and reflect on their own special nighttime memories.
Anthony Attardo, July 2020