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Get Upclose and Personal with Portraits at Phoenix Art Museum Photography Exhibition
Dorothea Lange. Ex-Oklahoma Farmer, 1935. Purchase. 76.231.6. Collection Center for Creative Photography.



PHOENIX, AZ.- Portraits are taken by both professional photographers and amateurs everyday. They document significant milestones, record special moments, convey credentials and when done well, provide an intimate view of the subject. But what do these photographs also say about the person behind the lens – the photo taker? On September 19, Phoenix Art Museum unveils Face to Face: 150 Years of Photographic Portraiture a new photography exhibition that reveals the concealed stories portraits tell.

Face to Face investigates nearly 70 portraits by 58 different artists by exploring the ways photographers express the essence of their subjects and the impact of personal, professional or cultural relationships. Drawn from the Center for Creative Photography, as well as local collections, this unique exhibition features evocative portraits by some of the greatest photographic image-makers of the 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-centuries including Southworth and Hawes, Gertrude Käsebier, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, W. Eugene Smith, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Yosuf Karsh and Richard Avedon.

“Portrait photographers take the expressive potential of clothing, gesture, pose, facial expression and setting and expand on them by using photographic elements to create a picture about their subject,” commented Rebecca Senf, Norton Family Assistant Curator of Photography, Phoenix Art Museum. “Beyond the visible elements in a photograph, there are aspects of the portrait that may not be obvious. Uncovering those relationships or the circumstances through research enriches our understanding.”

Portraiture was one of photography’s earliest applications and has become the primary mode for capturing a person’s likeness. Face to Face spans the medium’s history, from the earliest form of photography – the daguerreotype, used in the mid 19th century – to works made in the last few years.

“By closely investigating the works presented in the exhibition visitors will have the enhanced ability to read a portrait, a style of picture-making everyone personally knows, and to see more in every picture of people they view,” commented Senf.

A Landmark Photography Partnership
In 2006, Phoenix Art Museum and the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson inaugurated a highly innovative and unprecedented collaboration to bring the finest in photography to Phoenix Art Museum visitors. It established a vibrant new photography exhibition program at the Museum, while bringing the Center’s world-renowned collections to new and larger audiences..

The Center for Creative Photography is one of the world’s largest repositories of materials chronicling photography. Founded in 1975, it now houses 3.8 million archival items and 80,000 fine prints by photographers including Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Frederick Sommer, W. Eugene Smith, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, and Garry Winogrand.










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