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

Observed/Unobserved
Ed Kashi
Eye Contact
Ed Barnas
Preye Godswill, 27, tries to salvage old photos of her bar... by Ed Kashi / VII. Source: viiphoto.com
Ed Kashi / VII, "Preye Godswill, 27, tries to salvage old photos of her bar..." 2006

Photojournalists are not always unobserved observers (e.g., Eisenstadt’s 1933 photo of Goebbels.). However, the trend for many years has been for the photographer to be the “fly on the wall.” In his wall text accompanying “Eye Contact,” Ed Kashi notes that the images shown would normally have been rejected in editing because someone was looking directly into the camera – crossing the line from being an unknowing subject to one acutely aware of the photojournalist’s presence.

While the events of recent years have caused many to be wary of being photographed by strangers, these are not just recent images – they cover thirty years of Kashi’s work around the world. The twenty-three large-scale prints put the viewer in the photographer’s shoes, experiencing responses to the camera that run the gamut from curiosity through distrust and anger to fear of violence (several of the subjects are well armed). Images that struck me include a street scene in Marseille, the face of a eunuch in a bathhouse in Bangalore, a camera shop owner in Bagdad, the squatter in East Berlin, a nervous Syrian bride, and the wary look on a woman holding a stack of photographs in a burned-out neighborhood in Nigeria. While most of the images are direct, some are in reflection (in a broken mirror in Brighton, in new mirrors in a shop window in Iraq) that may beg the question of how aware the subject was of the camera.

This show is an example of rediscovery through a second look. Given the tendency to “edit down” digital images with a delete key rather then a penciled “x” on a contact sheet, I wonder how long it will be possible for photographers to revisit their back files and discover new insights in their “rejects.”

Ed Kashi
Eye Contact


VII Photo
28 Jay St.
Dumbo Brooklyn         Map

212 337 3130
viiphoto.com/news/vii-gallery/

Thursday, September 1 to
Friday, October 7, 2011
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10 to 6
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The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery