DATE: 10/6/2011 | BY CORY REYNOLDS
Photographers Nealy Blau, Kelli Connell and Suzanne Opton will sign copies of their new monographs, published by Decode Books, this Friday, October 7, at the ICP Store at the International Center of Photography, 1133 Avenue of the Americas, from 6:00 to 7:30pm.
Pause (2002), by Kelli Connell.
Kelli Connell's portraits appear to document a relationship between two women. Their idiom looks familiar: a young couple caught up in everyday moments of pleasure and reflection—a picnic in the park, playing pool in a bar, taking a bubble bath together. The first flicker of unease comes as soon as the viewer registers the similarity of the two subjects, who seem to be twins—and perhaps incestuous twins at that. In fact, Connell has photographed the same model portraying both of the women and then digitally combined the two images so seamlessly that not a trace remains of their construction. Connell has been at the forefront of artists using digital technologies for the past decade, but her art is not about Photoshop. The photographs in Double Life extend far beyond their duplicity into larger and more complex issues of identity and visual rhetoric. As she tells Dawoud Bey in the accompanying interview, "For the most part, I'm not actually thinking so much about representing two females in a relationship. I'm more so thinking about the multiple sides of the self in the overall human experience."
Soldier: Birkholz 353 Days in Iraq, 205 Days in Afghanistan by Suzanne Opton.
In the two series collected in the volume Soldier/Many Wars, photographer Suzanne Opton photographs American soldiers close up, laying their heads before the camera, and American veterans who are draped. The subjects of the Soldier series are all young, active-duty soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the photographs were presented as billboards in nine American cities from 2008 through 2010. Reviewing them for The New Yorker, photography critic Vince Aletti wrote: "The posture is vulnerable and startling intimate, as if these young men and women were facing someone in bed or on a stretcher... Opton catches soldiers both on guard and off, looking out and inward simultaneously, and we can only imagine what they're thinking, what they’ve done, and what they dread." The project received extensive press coverage and even sparked a heated debate about America's image of the military. The Many Wars series presents portraits of veterans from American wars over the past 70 years, most of whom are in treatment for combat trauma. Through interviews by the photographer, we learn how war has affected their lives. Both bodies of work were selected by Martin Paar for the Brighton Photo Biennial in 2010.
Green Leaf, Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia by Nealy Blau.
Since early childhood Nealy Blau has spent time wandering the halls of natural history museums which for her became places to escape and daydream. Drawn to the mysterious and sometimes eerie experience of these constructed unnatural settings, she found her way to photographing the "real nature" within the diorama cases: plants, grasses, trees. Her images are melancholic and moody, psychologically charged, and float between reality and the surreal. "I want the images to capture a presence. When I am editing the images, that is always the first thing I am looking for. It is either there or not for me. I think these kinds of museums present complex experiences and are complex representations of nature. I am interested in photographing a personal experience of being there and not necessarily documenting the diorama," Blau says. Images from her series Elsewhere were photographed inside natural history museums in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Santa Barbara, and Tacoma.
For more information about the event, please contact the ICP Store.
Kelli Connell: Double Life
DECODE BOOKSClth, 12.25 x 9.75 in. / 80 pgs / 36 color.
$60.00 free shipping