Before settling on a career in words, I briefly entertained the idea of becoming a photojournalist (this was before I nearly moved to New York to pursue the stage).
I love photography. I love how a good photograph can say more in one image than I could in 1,000 words. I love how a great photograph can leave you speechless, can simply describe what no words can. Photographs like that last a lifetime.
Photographs like that make history.
Even so, I think photography is one of the most underappreciated and criticized mediums of art. Much like journalism has lost some of its credibility since the advent of the Internet and the idea of "community journalism," that any bozo with a digital camera can once in a while stumble on a good picture makes it all the more difficult to not only recognize the really talented photographers, but also to appreciate their work.
I had a conversation recently with someone during which we discussed how few photographers' work we would actually characterize as "art." There are a lot more good photos out there than there are photographic works of art. Jeremy Charles, UTW's resident freelance photographer, was one of the few producers of art who made our list. And then, there are these: the artists whose work is on display at Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Road, as part of "Seeing Ourselves: Masterpieces of American Photography from the George Eastman House Collection," opening Sunday, Feb. 1.
The exhibit involves 155 of the more than 400,000 photographs and negatives housed in the George Eastman House Collection. The entire collection represents more than 14,000 photographers and depicts the history of photography, from its invention, through its evolution in technology, to its status present day.
The exhibit presented at Philbrook, which will also travel to Pensacola, Fla.; Monterey, Calif.; Lafayette, La.; and Columbia, SC, serves as an introduction to the historical and contemporary masterpieces of American photography. Some of the images presented are perhaps vaguely familiar to American audiences, while others are virtually unknown, yet quite important.
The point is to make the most historical, respected, artistic photography accessible to a wide range of audiences. Thus, the exhibit is organized, not chronologically (though it represents more than 150 years of history), but by categories: American Masterpieces, American Faces, America at War, America the Beautiful and American Families.
According to the folks at the George Eastman House Collection, "The groupings reflect the ways contemporary viewers know photography, thus linking their understanding of the present to the practices of the past."
The "American Masterpieces" grouping serves as an introduction to the exhibit, showcasing some of the most recognizable photographs, such as Ansel Adams' "Yosemite Valley, Summer" and Alfred Steiglitz's "The Steerage."
Then, patrons move on to "American Faces," which offers notable portraits of American celebrities, photos that helped secure and influence's these people's identities in the public eye. Next, "America at War" showcases images like Timothy O'Sullivan's "A Harvest of Death, Gettysburg" and Hiroshi Watanabe's "Vietnam Memorial."
The "America the Beautiful" grouping follows "America at War" very naturally and organically, demonstrating a great sense of American pride captured in picture.
Finally, "American Families" depicts the ways in which family has been an integral and iconic element of American life.
After having viewed the exhibit, the average museumgoer, one who hasn't already established a wealth of photographic knowledge, should have a general, broad understanding of the history as an art form and how it has not only captured but also influenced American life.
One should also leave with a strong desire to learn and explore more about photography, to pay more attention to images seen every day in the news, to snap more of his or her own photographs. If you're like me, anyway.
As a fun, interactive element to the exhibit, Philbrook has partnered with Tulsaphotobooth.com to offer exhibit goers an opportunity to capture their own images in a photo booth and take the photo home. That element of the exhibit is free with paid museum admission, about $7.50.
The exhibit runs through April 26. For more on this exhibit and other Philbrook events, visit www.philbrook.org.
The Circle Cinema, 12 S. Lewis, presents "Personality of Cult: Episode Deux," an exhibit of works by local artists inspired by their favorite cult films. The exhibit is a follow-up to the wildly popular original event in February of last year.
Since this is "part two" of the "Personality of Cult," the theme is sequels and franchise films, so inspiration came from the likes of James Bond, Jaws, The Godfather and Lord of the Rings, among others.
The exhibit opens in the lobby of Circle 2 Friday, Jan. 30 at 7pm with an artists' reception, and the exhibit will hang through March 28.
For more information, visit www.circlecinema.com.
The University of Tulsa's Alexandre Hogue Gallery presents the work of sculptor Matthew Burke in an exhibit called "Swoop, Pusle and Shift: Shape and Time," opening Thursday, Jan. 29.
Burke, who is an assistant professor at the University of Kansas School of Art, will present eight large wooden sculptures and seven to eight drawings, all inspired by human action, ranging from thought to death.
"I think of all activity as an action, because life is always moving," said Burke. "I am truly inspired by a school of fish or a flock of birds. These seem to represent best what our lives mean -- movement, passage, transition and relationship."
The exhibit opens with a lecture on Friday at 4pm in the Jerri Jones Lecture Hall in Phillips Hall on the TU campus and a reception at 5pm at the gallery, 2935 E. Fifth St. The exhibit will hang through Feb. 27. For more, call 631-2202.
Daniel Gulick, founder of Nude: 5, Tulsa's annual erotic art show, recently released a call for entries for its March 28 event at Capella's, First and Detroit.
Artists must be 21 to submit work and can submit up to three pieces for a fee of $20. All work submitted must have been done in the past year and be erotic/provocative/sensual in nature. All media are accepted. The show is juried, and cash prizes will be awarded. For more guidelines and information on how to enter, go to nudeartshow.com.
Gulick also released the event's performers, who are: RadioRadio (headlining), DJ Moody, DJ Demko, local burlesque celebrities Kira Von Sutra, Lu Foxxx, Ilsa the Wolf and Savonne the Minx, drag artist Nikki Le'Chapelle and erotic fashion show presenter Pearl.
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