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Present Tense: Looking Forward, Looking Back
Ann Pallesen and gallery crew are installing Present Tense (lecture, opening reception and awards on Aug 13) downstairs. One of the driving concepts of the show was a kind of artistic defiance, defiance against ideas that photography has been diluted by an overabundance of images, that printed photo books are rapidly being replaced by online galleries, and that original ideas are either harder to come by, or lost in a sea of online media. The ~70 photographs, and 18 individual projects in Present Tense certainly quell gloomy feelings about contemporary photography. Included are projects that poignantly address very timely subjects: people affected by the economic downturn in rural Arkansas (Alex Leme); the theatre of modern medical practice (Tony Chirinos); lesbian identity in hip hop culture (Chikara Umihara); and at the edges of fashion/art, a Guy Bordain-like series on luxury footwear (Sari Wynne). Amongst these, though, there are also several nods to the history of photography as a medium, and one project that specifically reconstructs some very iconic photographs: Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, Edgerton’s bullet passing through an apple, and others. An interesting project to consider within this group, it reminds us that looking back can prove valuable in reflecting on our current place in photography, life and art.