Confounding Expectations: Revisiting In, Around, and Afterthoughts on Documentary Photography

Aperture at The New School Wed 3 Nov 2010 7.00PM-9.00PM The New School, Tishman Auditorium
66 West 12th Street
Free admission
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Aperture Foundation, the Photography Program in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics present a panel entitled Contemporary Documentary Practices, as part of the ongoing series, Confounding Expectations: Photography in Context.

In dialogue with Martha Rosler's seminal critique of documentary photography in the 1981 text In, Around, and Afterthoughts on Documentary Photography, this panel explores the viability of documentary practices today, both within the contemporary art realm and in the larger context of visual culture. In the 1981 text, Rosler claimed that documentary photography has yet to be realized to its full potential. Moving from a direct critique of documentary photographic practices, many contemporary photographers are utilizing art strategies to initiate and maintain social and political engagement through the use of the photographic medium. This discussion aims to examine photography's ability to foster social change in the contemporary moment and generate a discussion about the importance of institutional and discursive framing in determining photographic meaning.
Susan Bright

LaToya Ruby Frazier
Chris Verene
Michael Wolf

Susan Bright is well known internationally for her contributions to the photographic world as commentator, exhibition curator, and author. She has taught extensively and convened major conferences and seminars on many aspects of art and photography. Previous posts include Assistant Curator of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, London; Curator at the Association of Photographers, London; and Acting Director for the MA photography course (Historic and Contemporary) at Sotheby's Institute, London. While based in London, Bright curated the 2007 exhibition Face of Fashion for The National Portrait Gallery. Later that same year, she co-curated the landmark exhibition How We Are: Photographing Britain at Tate Britain. As an author, Bright is best known for Art Photography Now, published by Thames & Hudson and Aperture, and her most recent book The Self Portrait in Contemporary Photography, which will be released in the fall of 2010. She currently lives in New York.

LaToya Ruby Frazier earned a BFA in applied media arts at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2004, and an MFA in art photography from Syracuse University in 2007. Frazier's work has been written about in The New York Times, The New Yorker, ArtForum, Artnet, Art Papers, Art Info, Art in America,The Brooklyn Rail, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Village Voice. Her work has been shown in museums and galleries in New York City including MOMA PS1 Greater New York, the New Museum of Contemporary Art Younger Than Jesus, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Higher Pictures Gallery, and internationally in Copenhagen, Denmark. Frazier's first solo museum exhibition, Mother May I, was at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit in May 2010. Currently she is the Associate Curator for the Mason Gross Galleries in the Department for Visual Arts where she also teaches photography in the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

Chris Verene
grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. He studied with master black and white photographer/printers John McWilliams and Larry Fink. He is also known as a master color photographic printer. He has been photographing three generations of his family since 1984 in Galesburg, Illinois, a small town in the Midwest. Verene's work is in numerous major museum collections. He has been published in several books, including his 2000 self-titled monograph by Twin Palms Press, and a new Phaidon photographic history entitled, Theater of the Face, Portrait Photography Since 1900. Verene is also a filmmaker and musician. His new photography book, Family, will accompany a traveling solo museum and gallery exhibition throughout the United States in 2010–2011. His work is featured in the internationally traveling exhibition Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera Since 1870.

Michael Wolf attended UC Berkeley, and later studied with Otto Steinert at the University of Essen in Germany. His books include, Sitting in China (2002) and Hong Kong: front door/back door (2005) and The Transparent City (Aperture, 2008). Wolf's work has been exhibited in Asia, Europe, and the United States, and is included in the permanent collections of prominent institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; and the Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany. He is represented by Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, and Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York. An exhibition of his most recent work, iseeyou, opens at Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, October 28. Wolf lives and works in Hong Kong and Paris.