The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino

Happy Anniversary!

30th Anniversary Exhibition
Photo by Toshio Shibata . Source:
Toshio Shibata, "Okawa Village, Tosa County, Koch Prefecture”

In a business that’s subject to the unpredictable whims of the art market and the gyrations of Wall Street, the Laurence Miller Gallery has endured to become one of the oldest photography galleries in the United States. Over the years, it has mounted some 250 exhibitions, adapting to the changes in the business of selling fine art photography. That’s no small accomplishment, especially with the growth of photography sales on the Internet. Although it started out by exhibiting classic black and white, today the gallery also shows the contemporary large format work many collectors want.

Photo by Jerry Uelsmann . Source:
Jerry Uelsmann, "Mechanical Man #1" 1959

The 42 photographs in this show offer a brief but telling glimpse of the gallery’s evolution over the years—and for that matter, photography’s. The old and new hang side by side so you can see “Man in a Nose Suit” (2000) by Gary Brotmeyer next to Jerry Uelsmann’s “Mechanical Man #1” (1959). Or Burk Uzzle’s fabulous “New Mexico Highway” (1970) next to Toshio Shibata’s beautifully mysterious “Okawa Village,Tosa County (2007). It all adds up to a visual feast – a diverse collection that reflects the personal preferences of gallerist Miller who said to me: “I show what I like.” And apparently, it’s been that way from day one. He liked the work of Laurence Bach so much that this emerging artist (it was his first solo show in New York) was in the gallery’s first show in 1984. Over the years, while still featuring the work of the masters, Miller has offered that same opportunity to other artists, taking great pride in doing so.

Photo by Peter Bialobrzeski . Source:
Peter Bialobrzeski

, "Paradise Now #32" 2008

Not surprisingly iconic images by Diane Arbus, Larry Burrows, Friedlander, Emmet Gowin, Helen Levitt, Ray K. Metzger, Burk Uzzle and Minor White are here, but so are the works of lesser-known or emerging artists. For example, as you step off the elevator, you’re greeted by an intriguing 40 x 50 inch color print by Peter Bialobrzeski entitled “Paradise Now.” Some large tree branches cover up the faint outlines of a roller coaster. Is that a double exposure in a large format camera or a masterly use of Photoshop? I didn’t ask.

Photo by Miguel Angel Garcia  . Source:
Miguel Angel Garcia , "View from Empire State Building Looking South" 2012

Miller pointed out the work of Joan Colom, a famed Spanish street photographer who was known for his shoot from-the-hip style of photographing prostitutes in Barcelona’s de Raval district. Vancouver photographer Fred Herzog’s early Kodachrome street photography is reminiscent of the late, great Saul Leiter’s work. And Miguel Angel Garcia’s image, “View from Empire State Building Looking South, 2012 is mesmerizing.” He digitally colored all the water towers red and then the rest of the image white.

This is an exhibition that makes you look, makes you pay attention to the details, and makes you appreciate the expertise of a gallerist and his role in fine art photography. It is indeed a happy anniversary.

30th Anniversary Exhibition

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

212 397 3930

Wednesday, February 5 to
Friday, April 25, 2014
Hours: Wed-Sat 10 to 5:30

Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat