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Arguing with Images: Photographs from the Permanent Collection

April 28 - June 3, 2017

garry winogrand, cape kennedy (photograph)

Garry Winogrand, Cape Kennedy, Florida (1969), gelatin silver print,
gift of Donald T. Johnson '61, SLU 79.429.1


“[A photograph] is a work of public art, not a fine art; an image, not a text; a real artifact, not a fabricated reality. Thus one task is to consider what it can do on its own terms, that is, as a means for communicating with others about common concerns.” - Robert Hariman and John Lucaites, The Public Image, 2016

“The civil contract of photography […] affords enough distance to view a different type of relation between human beings, between the governed, in the framework of which the citizen aims to break away from his or her status as citizen and exercise citizenship—that is, to turn citizenship into the arena of a constant becoming, together with other (non)citizens.” - Ariella Azoulay, The Civil Contract of Photography, 2008

In partnership with the Department of Performance and Communication Arts, the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery presents Arguing with Images, selected photographs from St. Lawrence University’s Permanent Collection. The exhibition invites viewers to reflect upon photography as a form of public and civic discourse that conveys rhetorical perspectives. Students enrolled in Jessica Prody and Erik Johnson’s course on Visual Rhetoric have chosen images that range from from the humorous to the haunting, the iconic to the obscure, and from the photojournalistic ephemera of news media to the aesthetic objects of fine art photography. In fact, much of the show troubles these and other binaries.

Photographs are grouped by three themes:

Students in the course spent the semester analyzing photographs in a series of writing assignments that focused on methods of visual rhetorical criticism, semiotics and design, and discourse analysis. The students' interpretive text panels are displayed alongside selected photographs for the exhibition.

Featured photographers include Berenice Abbott, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, Mark Klett, Arthur Rothstein, W. Eugene Smith, Paul Strand, Stephanie Welsh, Garry Winogrand, Ernest Withers, and others.



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