New York Photo Review
from the NYPR Archives

Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Soho Photo Gallery
Central Booking Magazine

Working Class Heros
Bruce Wrighton
At Home
Bruce Wrighton, “Fred”

In the photographic pantheon, Bruce Wrighton’s name is virtually unknown. He died of cancer in 1988—at age 38–in relative obscurity in upstate New York.

Fortunately, Laurence Miller has long been a fan of his work. According to the gallery, this is the most complete exhibition of Wrighton’s work taken in the two years before he died, and it should add new recognition of Wrighton’s unique talents as a color photographer. The show of 70 color images includes street portraits, taverns, courtroom interiors and views of the Binghamton area’s mostly dreary streets and homes. Some images are as large as 66 x 54 inches while others are vintage 8 x10 C prints.

Wrighton’s technique was simple and direct– he used an 8 x 10 view camera on a tripod—not your typical street photography set-up, but it allowed for a kind of intimacy between photographer and subject rarely seen. Then again, Wrighton had no pretenses. He was an everyman himself. He worked as a waiter and dishwasher and could talk to ordinary people like security guards and carnival workers, persuading them to pose for as long as six minutes until he was satisfied with the set-up.

 by unidentified photographer.
Bruce Wrighton, “Security Guard”

His portraits hide nothing: straightforward, head-on, in your face, with color adding to the reality. They are photographs of people you might not have even noticed – but he did; he humanized them.

There are four images of classic cars. The 1956 Ford Victoria in front of the Cinema Endicott is evocative, to say the least. And Wrighton captures Binghamton’s interiors and life as they used to be. There’s an image of a booth in the Waldorf Grill with a sign taped to the wall, “Thanks to everyone, the auction raised $3180.75.” I also liked the image of the bedroom with mismatched bedspread and wallpaper, a portrait of Christ in the middle of it all.

Some images in this show are stronger than others, but all capture a time and place in America that may have vanished. Overall, there’s much to look at and like here.

Bruce Wrighton
At Home


Laurence Miller
20 W 57th St 3rd Fl
Midtown         Map

212 397 3930
laurencemillergallery.com

Thursday, March 3 to
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Hours: Tue - Fri, 10 to 5:30; Sat 11 to 5:30
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The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery