The Southeast Museum of Photography presents a special exhibition of the photographs of Gary Monroe.
A reception and talk by the artist is scheduled for Thursday March 29th at 4:00 PM.
Gary Monroe: Photographs provides a glimpse into a number of communities that add to the character of this place and this mentality that we call Florida. From the Old World Jews who populated South Beach Miami, to Haitian resettlement camps, to the tourists visiting Disney, and the very landscapes that these cities and communities are built upon. Monroe has spent his life capturing little moments that reflect bigger ideas.
The locations and characters in these photographs vary widely, and are taken from over 30 years worth of Monroe’s photographic pursuits. However, each image was composed, captured, and is imprinted with Monroe’s signature style. There is no pretension, no expectation, and nothing staged. Monroe captures an awkward glance, strangers passing in the street, senior citizens waiting for the bus, a day laborer napping in the shade. But as normal as these occurrences seem, Monroe presents them in a way that draws the viewer in. The subjects are all characters and they are all in conversation with each other, with the scene, and, remarkably, with the viewer.
Upon completing graduate school at the University of Colorado (Boulder, 1977), Gary Monroe returned home to Miami Beach to photograph South Beach’s old world Jewish community daily for ten years. With the Haitian boatlift of 1980 Mr. Monroe received unprecedented permission to photograph refugees at the INS Krome Resettlement Camp; the media were barred. He ventured into Miami’s Little Haiti when others avoided the place. While ”Baby Doc” Duvalier ruled and before the media descended on Haiti, Mr. Monroe began photographing throughout the beleaguered country. Then he photographed Haitian enclaves around Florida.
Because of his interest in tourism, in 1987 Mr. Monroe began photographing tourist attractions. He photographed at Disney World hundreds of times in an attempt to make sense of its “rite of passage” through 2002. He subsequently photographed Florida’s older theme parks and his interests expanded to include other countries–Israel, England, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Poland and India, to name a few. Mr. Monroe continued photographing throughout Florida, with a special interest in describing corporate-driven landscapes.
With 12,500 rolls of film and twice as many large prints constituting his archive, Gary Monroe continues to prowl streets nearby and far away with his Leica M cameras and print the negatives in his darkroom. His photography has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Dade County Council of the Arts and Sciences, Florida Humanities Council and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the Southeast College Art Conference, and Fulbright Foundation.
For more on Gary Monroe visit his website: