BWGallerist

Preview: Portraits of the US Congress: 1986-1987, Judith Joy Ross, Deborah Bell Photographs, New York, NY

In Black and White Photography, Exhibits, Gallery, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on January 26, 2017 at 11:14 am
Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat, West Virginia (Minority Leader), 1987, by Judith Joy Ross

Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat, West Virginia (Minority Leader), 1987, by Judith Joy Ross

A picture can catch a person at their most vulnerable. This is the last situation that most politicians want to be in. But Judith Joy Ross managed to do just that over a period of several years.

Ingeniously, Ross proposed an exhibition of portraits of members of Congress to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia even before she made the pictures, suggesting that the show could be held in celebration of the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution.  This plan also helped her gain access to the politicians she wished to photograph.  With the financial support from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship she had received in 1985, Ross embarked upon the project and proceeded to set up appointments with 117 members of Congress and their aides.  The resulting exhibition, Portraits of the United States Congress, was held at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1987 and travelled to the Lehigh University Art Galleries in Bethlehem, PA in 1989.  Twenty of the photographs were shown last fall at Tops Gallery in Memphis.  The photographs have not been shown as a group in New York since they were exhibited at James Danziger Gallery in 1991.

“I made Portraits of the United States Congress, 1986-87 to deal with authority figures on my own terms. When I was photographing at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1983-84, the Capitol was visible in the distance.  I wanted to know who these people were who were in our government, the people who were running our lives.  They didn’t look real to me in the media except for on the MacNeil/Lehrer show (now PBS NewsHour), where the masks were off.

I figured out who to photograph with the help of the wonderful Almanac of American Politics published by the National Journal.  It is a 1,591-page compendium of information about the Members of the House and the Senate, with detailed information on exactly how they voted and who they represent.  I picked people I disagreed with and people I agreed with.  This was very inspiring.”   – Judith Joy Ross

Deborah Bell Photographs will be opening the exhibit to the public on February 1st. The exhibit is sure to be one of the more thought-provoking displays this winter, so for those in the NY Metro area, make sure to visit before it concludes on April 29th, 2017.

For More Information: Deborah Bell Photographs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: