Friday, September 28, 2007

Sentimental snapshots

"Atlanta Celebrates Photography" was technically kicked off last night with the opening of "Responding To Home," curated by Susan Todd-Raque, at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.

Considering this show is the start of the largest festival of photography in the southeast and is housed in a museum of contemporary art one may go so far as to expect a showing of contemporary photography. But I guess with a titled like "Responding to Home" I should have known better. With a few exceptions, the show fell into a very sentimental reverie of artists photographing their homes, or parents homes, or cabin retreats. Taking pictures to capture the "memories" in a very traditional, overly literal way, negating any feeling of nostalgia for anyone but the artists, themselves.

Take for example Judy Morris Lampert (above) and Jane Robbins Kerr (below). They get straight to the point when examining "home". These remind me of how my mom has photographed every house our family has lived in, plus some childhood homes, and hung them all on a living room wall. Can't wait to tell her that her efforts belongs in the mocaga.

But when I said there were a few exceptions, I was talking about Jerry Siegel. His series "Rt. 2 Box 248E" documents quiet moments and small details of the home that has been in his family for fifty years and passed down through generations.

The beautiful, contemplative images document history like only photography can. Siegel's use of the camera to interpret and memorialize home with time being the most pressing subject matter grasps what this large group show is really about.

One more Siegel

The other exception is Charles Hemard III, whose series "Departures and Junctures" documents the strange no-mans land between interstates and exit ramps.

These people are waging a never ending battle.

Hemard took a broader approach to "home" and examined the strange reality of Atlanta. The stubbornness of existence in spite of nature. Cranes populating our skyline and a slightly toxic river running through it. Atlanta is a city of tombstones butted against interstates but in this lies her charm.

Christopher perusing the art - taken from his "good side".

The wine line was long. Hey, there's Mehmet in the red shirt.

The walk home. Despite the cranes, Atlanta's pretty photogenic.

I highly recommend the combination of this wine and this cheese. (insert plug for Trader J's)

Woke up this morning and took my own picture of "home".

"Responding to Home" is up at the MOCAGA through Nov. 24th, 2007.

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