September 9 – November 27, 2010
Curated by Sarah Stolfa and Christopher Gianunzio
The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is excited to announce the exhibition and opening reception for True Fiction, a fall show featuring work by Yasser Aggour, Kelli Connell, Gregory Crewdson, La Toya Ruby Frazier, Beate Gütschow, Bradley Peters, Taryn Simon, Chad States and Elaine Stocki. The photographs featured in True Fiction exist between truth and fantasy, working within the lines of the documentary and tableau genres.
With the onslaught of digital imaging technology, it is increasingly more difficult to believe in the idea of photographic truth. From Facebook to newscasts, our culture is oversaturated with a phenomenal amount of imagery whose original source will always be unknown. Photo manipulation, however, has always been connected to the process of image making. Contemporary photography has built upon the documentary genre, expanding into an endless array of photographic expressions.
As the debate of truth within the photographic medium recedes, a renewed interest in access has taken its place. These photographers provide us access into unseen worlds of vulnerability and secrecy, revealing unique physical and psychological spaces. True Fiction illustrates the numerous and complex new perspectives in photography by exploring the perceptual gaps between artifice and the authentic experience.
Working in a tableaux style of photography, Gregory Crewdson and Kelli Connell create their images by directing the scene unfolding in front of the camera. Using staged direction and computer manipulation, these two artists create believable situations from fictitious narratives. Both Crewdson and Connell explore issues of domesticity from a predetermined narrative perspective.
Bradley Peters begins by staging a small narrative and then observes the scene as it naturally unfolds. Acting as an improvisational director, Peters waits for the precise moment to trigger the shutter and capture a naturally unraveled staged photograph.
Using found images from the Internet, Yasser Aggour’s project “The Hunted” also works in a grey area that doesn’t cleanly fit into either genre. While investigating issues of image access, Aggour digitally manipulates the appropriated image to distort reality and our perceptions of truth. Beate Gütschow’s landscape works appear to be composed from a single negative, but upon further inspection it is revealed that each image is composed of many exposures stitched together. The resulting pictures disrupt notions of an authentic experience by presenting impossible scenarios.
Elaine Stocki images often disrupt the viewer’s expectations when experiencing photographs. Although it is clear that Stocki does collaborate to make her photographs, it is not clear who her collaborators are or under what circumstances the photographs are made. The resulting images are part performance spliced with voyeuristic impulse.
Taryn Simon uses a documentary style of photography to unveil the hidden truths that lie behind locked doors. Her images allow the viewer to confront spaces and situations that are not typically accessible to the general population further disrupting notions of authenticity, truth, public and private.
LaToya Ruby Frazier is another photographer that is often linked to the documentary genre, but extends much further beyond its parameters. Referencing the domestic setting, LaToya investigates the role the African American family has played throughout the history of photography, while also examining the duality of subject and author. The work of Chad States also lives in the space between the staged and the document. In his series “Cruising” States wanders through public spaces in search of those performing discrete physical encounters. In his images it is unclear of the artist’s relationship to the subject and the subjects awareness of the artist’s presence.