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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Friday night photo show opening at Guilford Art Center

Guilford Art Center
411 Church St., Guilford, (203) 453-5947
Documenting "The Other": Photographs of China, Myanmar and India by Larry Snider
May 9—June 19, 2008
Opening reception, Fri., May 9, 5—7 p.m.

Press release

Compelling images of people and places captured during Asian travels will be featured in the Guilford Art Center's exhibition Documenting "The Other": Photographs of China, Myanmar and India by Larry Snider. This solo exhibition features works by Snider, a Chicago-based photographer, who has traveled extensively over the past 30 years, documenting the people and cultures he has encountered. The exhibition is on view May 9 through June 19 in the Center's Mill Gallery.

Snider discovered the Far East and Asia as an undergraduate, in the late 1950s. "The 'foreign-ness' and the thoughtfulness of the culture totally captivated me," he says. Snider's techniques are influenced by documentary photographers such as August Sander and Irving Penn. His portraits are not studio shots, but images captured in the different places his subjects live and go about their business: villages, homes, workplaces, shops, temples. There are images of parents and children, couples, laborers, monks, in everyday dress as well as ceremonial garb.

Often drawn to remote areas, Snider's photos attempt to portray indigenous cultures relatively untouched by modernity, and which are in danger of soon disappearing. Frequently the settings are as revealing—and as much a part of a portrait—as the people themselves. "For me, what I photograph is instinctive," Snider explains. "I am always just looking, although the vast majority of photographs have been portraits. People are certainly the most fascinating."

The artist tries to "break the ice" with his subject, despite a language barrier, with body language and a smile, and by showing them photos he took on another trip. He also frequently creates an interesting sort of "contract" with his subjects, using a camera that enables him to take a Polaroid photo and give it to them while taking the photo for himself, thus "giving them something in return for what I am 'taking,'" Snider says.

Snider's photographs have been exhibited widely, and are included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

At the exhibition's opening reception, Snider will be interviewed by Corey Postigilone, an artist, writer and professor at Columbia College, Chicago. Postiglione has written a text to accompany the exhibition, placing Snider's work within the context of travel photography and the experience of photographing "the other."

The opening reception for Documenting "The Other": Photographs of China, Myanmar and India by Larry Snider is May 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday noon to 6, Saturday noon to 5. Admission is free. Docent-led tours can be scheduled by appointment.


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