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26.9.09

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Major photography exhibits seem to be everywhere. Since I've been traveling, I'm going to bounce from coast to coast here. A few weeks ago I got to visit my co-bloggers, the painter extraordinaire Anna Conti and her husband, photographer Dave Sumner, in San Francisco. Anna graciously toured me around the SFMOMA and a few galleries -- thank you, madame -- and the most memorable exhibits of photography. The touring Avedon show, recently at the Corcoran, was at the SFMOMA. In his unmistakable style Avedon takes us not only through an era of American celebrity and high fashion, but his striking portraits from his American West series are gritty and straightforward, exposing the facial wrinkles of a life time -- unfortunately this unique history is what botox is now attempting to erase. They're some of my favorite Avedon images, other than the series he did of his father during his battle with cancer.


Much less formal, in a snapshot manner that I lean towards, are Robert Frank's images from his series The Americans, that just opened at The Met in NYC (and was at the earlier this year). Starting off with a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1955 and an idea for a book, Frank, a recent immigrant himself, set off by car from New York to photograph America, passing through Detroit, the South, Texas, L.A., and back through Chicago. All along the way pointing and shooting by intention and often by chance, Frank the outsider recorded an uncompromising view of an America the world hadn't seen before. He literally changed the way we look at and take our own pictures.

Back in SF a photo exhibit that I truly identified with was Nicholas Knight's very timely Taking Pictures, at Steven Wolf Fine Arts. Knight takes pictures of people taking pictures of -- what else -- pictures, in galleries and museums. Everywhere I go these days someone is taking a picture, with a camera or cell phone and I'm happily one of them and happen to think it's a wonderful thing.

My pocket always has a camera in it, which is important to remember when doing laundry (yes, I have, twice). As an art blogger I take many pictures in galleries and museums. I prefer to try and capture the essence of an art installation, especially with people interacting with the work. There are some common sense manners and rules to follow -- such as no flash in the galleries, fools!

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