“Through the Plain Camera” Opening

Friday evening the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery unveiled its latest show, Through the Plain Camera: Small and Shapely Pleasures in Contemporary Photography, which was curated by Sarah Kaufman ’03 and Rebecca Robertson BMC ’00, two former students of Professor of Fine Arts and Curator of Photography William Williams. The show gathers together intimate, unposed moments seemingly snapped from the daily lives of five photographers—Jessica Backhaus, Elizabeth Fleming, Vita Litvak, Christian Patterson and Shen Wei—as a celebration of how photographs can both describe and transcend the everyday experiences of their creators.

Professor of Fine Arts and Curator of Photography William Williams (left) at his former students' crowded opening.

The show, according to its curators, is a testament to the legacy of legendary former Director of Photography for the Museum of Modern Art John Szarkowski, who organized a revolutionary show (New Documents) for the museum in 1967 that heralded the arrival of a new photographic style that prized unmanipulated, ordinary subjects captured in a snapshot-like fashion. Likewise, Kaufman and Robertson chose pictures for this show that aren’t constructed, but simply “taken,” and that represent direct photographic interaction with the world as it is, so that we may all look at their commonplace subjects with new eyes.

Curator Sarah Kaufman (left) and artist Elizabeth Fleming (right) discuss the exhibit.
Curator Rebecca Robertson (right) speaks with guests at the opening.

The show will run through December 11. Overseen by the John B. Hurford ’60 Humanities Center and located in Whitehead Campus Center, the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery is open Monday-Friday 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 12–5 p.m. and Wednesdays until 8 p.m. For more information, contact Matthew Seamus Callinan, Campus Exhibitions Coordinator, at (610) 896-1287 or mcallina@haverford.edu.

All photos by Lisa Boughter.

UPDATE: Edith Newhall wrote a positive review of the show (and the two other photography shows currently up on campus, Walker Evans in Color and The Railroad in the Landscape) in the October 30 issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer, calling it “a picture-perfect time for pictures at Haverford.” Read the whole article here.

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