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Member Exhibition: Suzanne Garr at the Minneapolis Photo Center

The Portrait: Up Close and Personal opens June 22
Bonnet Girl, by Suzanne Garr
Bonnet Girl, by Suzanne Garr

CoPA member and former Board Secretary and Development Co-chair, Suzanne Garr was recently accepted in a Minneapolis Photo Center juried exhibition. The call for entries for The Portrait: Up Close and Personal resulted in the submission of more than 1,600 images from around the world, 75 of which will be exhibited at the Minneapolis Photo Center. The exhibition opens June 22nd, and runs through August 19, 2012.

Suzanne Garr's image entitled "Bonnet Girl" is a portrait of a little girl from Nepal. The image was captured while traveling to Nepal for a humanitarian trip with the Howard County, Maryland Rotary International Club to deliver an ambulance to a town medical clinic outside of Katmandu, Nepal.  "I saw this little girl on the side of the road gazing up at the sky. She was not far from where the traditional Hindu burial ceremonies were taking place. She never looked at me directly, which was part of the beauty capturing her face," states Garr.

At a young age children learn not to stare. Yet, we are drawn to look at each other, curious about what stories faces tell about how other lives are lived. The Portrait: Up Close and Personal invites you to look intently. These 75 portraits, selected from over 1,600 submissions, stand as exceptional examples of the diversity in contemporary photography.
The tradition of documentary photography still thrives as evident within the selection of photographs of workers—a farmer’s wife harvesting, a minister and architect in their places of worship and work, a Florida shrimper, a rodeo cowboy, and of course a photographer. An even older impulse to bring back images of the world traveled is reflected in the ethnographic portraits including those of African and Aztec dancers, an Indian singer and costumed child, and a bazaar vendor from China’s Silk Road. Others examine a culture closer to home, with portraits of unconventional characters, such as those attending motorcycle rallies. Four portraits record historic moments of social unrest, with depictions of an America’s civil rights figure and the 1970s counter culture movements, and more recently political protestors in Egypt and Occupy New York. No less dramatic, portraits with an implied narrative feature compelling protagonists frozen in moments of action leave viewers wondering how the story will end. Several photographs celebrate the beauty of the sitters with a direct gaze into the camera. However, in addition to representing traditional aesthetic ideals, portraits inclusive of a wide range of races, ages, and gender expand definitions of beauty. Several portraits of elderly and young subjects also reconsider age, by presenting exceptional individuals, such as the powerful aging surfer and the triumphant young amputee.
Experimentation with genre, format, and medium characterizes the portraits included in the exhibition. Some artists reconsider what constitutes a portrait, using objects, animals, masks, reflections and shadows to stand in for people’s visages. Like playful Russian nesting dolls, other photographers cleverly included portraits within portraits, such as the Cuban painter in his studio or the artist’s reflection on the glass of an heirloom daguerreotype. The juror commends the accomplished versatility with which photographers experiment with the history and future of the medium. Transcending debates for digital vs. film, the work in this exhibition also demonstrates newer technical innovations, like the iPhone and Photoshop, alongside early traditions, such as tintype and ambrotype photography. The diverse, highly competitive photography selected for The Portrait: Up Close and Personal is proof of the consistent power of portraiture to draw in viewers and encourage curiosity about other individuals.

The Portrait: Up Close and Personal
June 22 - August 19, 2012
Opening Reception: June 22, 2012, 7:00 to 10:00 pm
Minneapolis Photo Center 2nd Floor Galleries
2400 North 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN
Daily: 12-6