On loan from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery Alabama. In Time We Shall Know Ourselves will be on exhibit from January 20th to April 15th 2017. Join us for a lecture and book signing with photographer Raymond Smith when he visits the museum to speak about his exhibition which depicts his trip through the American South in 1974. Saturday March 25th at 6:00 PM
In the summer of 1974...
a young man drove an aging Volkswagen from New England through he South and into the Midwest, camping and photographing people and places along the way to California. The car died in Kansas City and Ray Smith took the train home to New Haven, Connecticut, where he printed some the 750 exposures he had made with his Rolleiflex and Minolta twin-lens cameras. Few of these rare prints have been exhibited or published until now, the fortieth anniversary of Smith's trip. Hence, the title of this portfolio of 52 black and white prints--In Time We Shall Know Ourselves: American Photographs, 1974.
Smith had acknowledged "the work of Walker Evens, with who I studied while in the Graduate Program in American Studies at Yale University in 1971-1972, and Robert Frank, whose The Americans (1959) suggested a model for my sequence." The majority of his photographs are portraits of people encountered in his travels, with additional images of the American vernacular landscape (i.e., highways, street scenes, storefronts, movie theaters) serving as punctuation.
For Smith, "Photography...is more closely related to literature, especially fiction (despite its proclivity to depict 'reality'), than it is to other visual arts. Whether the location is a city sidewalk, a back yard, a roadside or a door front, for me the portrait is primary, and the photograph is a short story exploding beyond its frame." He says, "I had no intention of defining a person by his or her surroundings, though I felt intuitively that these details and incidentals offered, not commentary, but a kind of texture, lending the portraits a sheen of ambiguity and a measure of wonder, like the furniture in a room in a Henry James novel, or the reflection in a storefront window."
This exhibition is coordinated and on loan from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts