As a photographer there is always value in looking at prints by the Masters in the history of photography. Especially prints such as these in this exhibition which truly all are Iconic images. Garry Winogrand is my favorite photographer, I take every chance I can to see his prints and I am glad he was included. Weston was such a master printer, for me seeing his work is a spiritual experience. I remember being at one of the first Photo LA events (around 1993?) and picking up a Weston print of a pepper which was sitting in an open bin with other prints (all were matted). At the time it was a $5,000 print, and it was so powerful to look at every detail of the image and realize Weston also did the same thing when he made this print. I liked both Weston prints in this exhibition and was again in awe of his printing with the Charis Wilson - Nude on Sand print. I recognized every image in this exhibition and appreciated all the information each accompanying title card had about the image. This exhibition was well curated and one thing I really liked was that everyone who saw the exhibition probably came away with some new knowledge about photography, I know I did. The images were somewhat eclectic but their stories were all so unique that they became very concise when displayed together.
Rich and Poor by Jim Goldberg 1978-1983 (printed 1984) 30 images
I was sitting in Bill Jay’s class at Arizona State University when I first saw Jim Goldberg’s series Rich and Poor. It was probably 1986 just after the series came out. It was powerful and to this day I still remember some of the saw there, most notably the photograph of Larry J. Benko and his son where Larry described himself to be too “rough” of a father for his son David who he called “Fragile”. Today, as I was then, I am amazed of how Jim Goldberg was first able to get people to pose for portraits in the privacy of their homes but then how he was able to get these people to open up so much and be completely transparent about their lives and their opinions of themselves. This series is a fantastic document, it powerful, and it truly is thought provoking. Combining text on prints is also not as simple as it seems. While at ASU I remember several classmates and a professor trying to produce bodies of work in that style, obviously emulating Goldberg’s work, and they didn’t work. The series Rich and Poor allows the viewer to seriously consider what really is valuable in life. I have had the book in my collection for a long time and seeing this has inspired me to revisit it. The images, and text, are truly powerful both individually and as a group. I thought the decision to display the prints on walls of a entry hallway for the museum was brilliant. The prints weren’t tucked back in a gallery room but they were right out there in the open for everyone who passed by to stop and see. Much like the people in the photographs who were allowing their own stories to be told, they were putting themselves out there for everyone to see. Once again another good photography exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago.