Not in Your Face
In the series “Not In Your Face” the t-shirt is starkly evident, but these photographs are not about the t-shirt per se. They are about identity, validation and perception. Each one of these people reveal a part of themselves that advertise their hopes, ideals, likes, dislikes, political views, and personal mantras. These individuals wear a kind of badge of honor or a trophy that say, “Yes, I belong to this group and not the other.” By photographing from the back, this work challenges the time-honored tradition of the portrait being of the face and tests whether body type, dress and demeanor can tell us just as much as a facial expression might. In August of 2014, The New York Times called the photographs “T-Shirt Time Capsules” with an article titled “Watching Your Back and What’s On It”. This typology of over 1000 images presents a time capsule of the kind of messages that people are willing to share without fear of reprisal. These environmental portraits serve to ask questions about our own instincts, baggage and prejudices that occur in that split second of recognition. In these photographs we witness a chronicle of global subcultures and vernaculars that serve to illustrate the currents, issues and concerns of the Twenty-First Century. These are the stories of people telling their own story revealing to us who they are and who they want us to think they are.
When George Harrison arrived in New York for the Beatles’ historic visit he was carrying a Pentax Spotmatic as he descended the airplanes steps. I was then 15 years old and soon I bought the same Pentax and began to photograph my everyday life such as it appeared to me. I later was lucky enough to have been given my Fathers 40 year old Leicaflex SL2 which I use to this day. After an internship at the Cloisters the Medieval branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art I was lucky enough to get a job at the Perls Galleries on Madison Avenue which specialized in the School of Paris, the Fauves and made Alexander Calder a household word. I worked there I worked for twelve years as Associate Director. I continue my association with Calder and the Perls to this day. Next door to Perls Galleries was Light Gallery, one of the earliest galleries to show Contemporary Photography; there I experienced firsthand the work of Steven Shore, Aaron Siskind and Lee Friedlander. The art world of the 70’s in New York gave me the opportunity to explore the art of the moment but because of the proximity of all the Museums and galleries and auction houses I was able to give myself an education in visual thinking while handling the work of the Masters. I continued to photograph and eventually began to use my camera full time once again. I have had solo exhibitions at the The Griffin Museum of Photography, Center for Fine Art Photography, DeSantos Gallery and in October at the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography. “Not In Your Face” has won awards recently from PhotoLucida Critical Mass Top 50 and the PDN Annual 2013. Images are available at Clampart, New York.