Artificial Childhoods, Fading Innocence, and Black Panthers at the Photography Show
By Alissa Guzman
Portraiture and history dominates this year’s The Photography Show, and there are many stand out works by Osamu Yokonami, Julie Blackmon, Ryan Vizzions, and others.
Viewers looking for images reflecting anything other than the annals of history, celebrity portraits, or cultural and political icons, however, must dig much deeper, as topical messages are few and far between. In this era of digital and mobile photography, where Instagram has upwards of 800 million users, The Photography Show is shockingly black & white. Expecting Ryan Trecartin-like experimentation that pushes the boundaries of photography, screens were noticeably absent. Despite these limitations, a few themes emerged that felt both topical and noteworthy, beginning with a surprising fixation on children, adolescence, and innocence....
The images of Julie Blackmon at Robert Mann Gallery deal with similar issues but through a very different lens, as Blockmon uses cinematic-inspired sets to capture her own family enacting moments from a suburban childhood. Highly composed, overly artificial and yet somehow completely believable, Blackmon’s images bring the feeling of dystopian angst into her perfectly crafted scenes.
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