Current Exhibitions

Taking Pictures: Women of Independent Spirit

On view now through November 12, 2023

Taking Pictures: Women of Independent Spirit celebrates the anonymous women who shaped the evolution of vernacular photography during the ‘analog era’ of the late 19th to the late 20th century.

This exhibition charts photography’s momentum across the 20th century as a medium for self expression alongside the expansion of women’s independence. As self-trained image makers and collaborative subjects, women played out new ways of being in the world both in front of, and behind, the camera. Arranged here in constellations, the photographs connect through shared gestures, shadow patterns and echoing poses of women belonging to an intersection of race, class, age, and era.

These photographs record vibrant times, magic hours, private performances, and experiments with identity. One captured moment contains countless narrative directions speckled with signifiers: a photographer’s shadow spills across a lawn, the silhouette revealing the cinched waist of a dress. Someone glances at the camera with a knowing look, or turns her face away in refusal. Another woman holds her camera at eye-level and gazes into a mirror, recording herself as the author of the image. The journey made by each image is evident on the surface of the photograph itself, with its frayed edges, creases, and scratches. Each hint offers a clue to who, when, why, with each image leading only to more questions.

On these walls, the wide range of formats and visual experimentation hint at divergent and coexisting waves of image-making across the twentieth century. The photograph records an impulse to hold still for a moment, offered to us now for a longer look. With time on our side, we can let our eyes linger on what she wanted us to see.

Taking Pictures: Women of Independent Spirit is curated by celebrated gallerist Julie Saul and Carly Ries, and brings together photographs from the Collection of Peter J. Cohen.

Sponsored in part by