New museum exhibits in New York City this summer will focus on honesty and integrity in photography. There have been more than 3.5 trillion photos taken in the 186 years since the first one was taken, and these exhibits honor some of the best. With three showcases, each with its own perspective on the world and photography, they exhibit how photography shapes history and our perception of the world.
The first artist showcased is Burk Uzzle, whose photos will be shown at the Steven Kasher Gallery until July 31. The exhibit, named American Puzzles explores using humor to tell jokes through photographs. In some of his photos, he uses the subject, like in the photo “Family Named Spot, Daytona Beach, Florida” (1997). The photo depicts two dogs wearing spotted coats to make them look like dalmatians, held on leashes by two people wearing T-shirts with the same spots. The real talent lies behind Uzzle’s ability to keep only the essentials in each piece. For example, in this one, he shows the couple from the shoulders down, which is all we need to get the joke.
Uzzle tends to base his humor on visual contradictions and illusions. For example, the 1967 photo titled “Kennedy Airport” portrayed two tiny figures in the lower left, who are dwarfed by the giant, swirling mass of modern architecture before them. The opposite example would be the photo- “Overpass in Curlers, Baltimore” (1967)- that shows a woman looking disproportionately large compared to her counterparts, due to her closeness to the camera. The Kasher Gallery will showcase more than 80 of these photos.
Until August 2, you can take in the Altered Images: 150 Years of Posed and Manipulated Documentary Photography exhibit at the Bronx Documentary Center. Shown in a facility known for its stance on advocating for documentary photography, the exhibit aims to show visitors why it is important for those photos to hold truth. The showcase, which has over 40 photos, includes images which in some way have been altered or misrepresented. As guests walk through, they will be able to look at each photo and read two explanations: the story reported and the real story.
Most people will recognize a Russian photo, taken circa 1930, in which Joseph Stalin had the Chief of the secret police, Nikolai Yezhov, edited out. It is also widely known that the breathtaking photo taken by Yevgeny Khaldei of Red Army soldiers holding a Soviet flag over the German Reichstag on May 2, 1945, was staged. Other photos in the exhibit include “Spanish Wake,” a 1951 photo taken by W. Eugene Smith, which was altered. There is also a recently discovered inauthentic picture entitled “Falling Soldier,” taken by Robert Capa in 1936.
The third and final showcase, Bricolage, will be shown through July 31 at Janet Borden, Inc. Bricolage, which is a construction technique that uses whatever materials are available, is the perfect description of the gallery’s showcase. Photographers will include Martin Parris, David Levinthal, William Wegman, Jim Dow, Hannah Otten, and Jan Groover. Each artist created unique and wonderfully strange pieces, that give an authentic look into their daily lives.