New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Kenneth Josephson

Walking through the first of three rooms of photographs that make up this show one is first struck by the vocabulary in evidence. The language espoused by the Art Institute of Chicago is everywhere heard. Echoes of Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind reverberate throughout the black and white prints. But these are only echoes and once one starts to really look at the images it becomes clear that Kenneth Josephson has extended this language to put forth questions of illusion and truth in the medium of photography.

The show starts with a group of street images. They have extremes of light and shadow that obscure and transform the supposed reality depicted in the photograph. In Stockholm, 1967 one looks down a traffic tunnel, a woman in a coat is cut in half by the darkness, on the ground the photographer’s shadow can be seen holding a camera to his eye. A string of lights on either side brings our eye to a distant landscape, hanging like an Anselm Adams photograph in the black nothingness, challenging our perspective.

The photographs continue to a group of images dealing with markings, mostly on roadways, forcing one to think about the events leading up to the picture. A series of images of objects placed in the landscape, precursors to the “land art” of Robert Smithson and others follow.

In the other two rooms hang the more familiar, pictures within pictures, photographs and clever landscapes that laid the groundwork for conceptual photography. The humorous hand of the artist is more directly involved in these images, many times literally, in questioning our sense of photographic reality.

Kenneth Josephson



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Friday, February 5 to
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