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Tribute to American portrait photography

April 2019 issue

Tribute to American portrait photography
"Inspiration," by Tim Kelly
© Judy Host

Exhibition considers portraits past and present

More than 40 photographers’ works were hung for the exhibition “Portraits Americana: A Brief Survey of American Portrait Photography.” The show honoring American portrait photography was curated by Glenn Rand for the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph, Missouri.

The exhibition, which ran from November 2018 through January 2019, included portraits by renowned photographers Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Gordon Parks, as well as contemporary portrait photographers Matika Wilbur, Judy Host, M.Photog.Cr., Tim Kelly, M.Photog.Cr., F-ASP, and Tim Meyer, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, among others (see full list below). It chronicled portrait photography from the start of the 20th century to the present, demonstrating a breadth and depth of styles from fine art and documentary portrait photography to glamour and studio portraits.

Rand notes that portrait photography has often been misunderstood by exhibition curators. “It is art and worthy of being in a museum,” he says. For the exhibit, Rand staged the collection not by chronology but by idea. For example, “Tim Kelly’s  ‘Inspiration’ showed the imagination that I wanted to exhibit in the area of self-portraits,” he says, “while Judy Host’s work showed both how she used today’s technology and [how she] engendered aspects of historical antecedences—in her image ‘Josey: Homage to Alphonse Mucha.’”

The exhibition chronicled the history of both the fine art and commercial aspects of the American portrait experience, says Tim Meyer, M.Photog.Cr., CPP,  whose work also was displayed. “It is rare to see these equally represented and respected in a museum and is perhaps the most complete approach to the subject I have seen.”

Sixteen of the photographers will have their works become part of the permanent collection at the Albrecht-Kemper.
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Portraits Americana artists

  • Ansel Adams (1902 - 1984)
  • George Barris (1922 - 2016)
  • Elinor Carucci (1971 - )
  • Martha Pearson Casanave (1946 - )
  • Phillip Stewart Charis  (1927 - 2015)
  • Edward S. Curtis (1868 - 1952)
  • Judy Dater (1941 - )
  • Randy Duchaine (1954 - )
  • Alfred Eisenstaedt (1888 - 1985)
  • Jill Enfield (1954 - )
  • Benedict J. Fernandez (1936 - )
  • Kurt Edward Fishback (1942 - )
  • M.K. Foltz (1947- )
  • Paul Linwood Gittings  (1900 - 1988)
  • Marc Hauser (1952 - )
  • Don Holtz (1969 - )
  • Garin Horner (1961- )
  • Judy Host (1954- )
  • George Hurrell (1904 - 1992)
  • Gertrude Käsebier (1852 - 1934)
  • Tim Kelly (1954 - )
  • Vernada Light (1952 - )
  • Larry McNeil (1955 - )
  • Tim Meyer (1954 - )
  • Tom Millea (1944 - 2015)
  • Margaretta K Mitchell (1935 -  )
  • Arnold Newman (1918 - 2006)
  • Anne Noggle (1922 -2005)
  • Gordon Parks (1912-2006)
  • Mark Perrott (1946 - )
  • David Ruderman (1945- )
  • Edward Steichen (1879 - 1973)
  • Alfred Stieglitz (1894 - 1946)
  • Jay Stock (1923 - )
  • Joyce Tenneson (1945 -  )
  • Jerry Uelsmann (1934 - )
  • James VanDerZee (1886 - 1985)
  • Nick Vedros (1953 - )
  • Eva Watson-Schütze (1867 - 1935)
  • Brett Weston (1911 - 1993)
  • Edward Weston (1886 - 1958)
  • Clarence H. White (1871 -1925 )
  • Matika Wilbur (1984 -
  • Joyce Wilson (1935 - )

Amanda Arnold is the associate editor of Professional Photographer.

Tags: portrait photography

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