To Do In Savannah: “Soldier Portraits” At The Telfair Museum

Posted by Rob Walker on April 14, 2010
Posted Under: Artists,To Do

Please pardon this brief aside. I’m really excited about E‘s latest show, at the Telfair Museum of Art here in Savannah. The opening reception is tomorrow night. I don’t know how many Murketing readers are actually in Savannah, but for those who are, here’s the info:

Ellen Susan / Soldier Portraits
Opening Reception: Thursday April 15, 6 pm.
Telfair’s Jepson Center
Savannah, GA

If you can’t make the opening, check out the actual show before closes July 25. Many of the images on view are ambrotypes (and tintypes) made with the wet-plate collodion process. This is a rather complicated and intense antique process that, while difficult, produces one-of-a-kind images that look particularly amazing in person.

For various reasons I’ve been thinking a lot lately about recognition and the art process, and I think it’s an important dimension of this project. The combination of this process and these subjects strikes me as a useful antidote to the way we’ve gotten used to seeing soldiers in the press: Whatever your stance might be about the war, “the troops” are often just fleeting, interchangeable images, more of an idea than actual people.

The Soldier Portraits project started when we first moved to Savannah a couple of years ago; locally based soldiers, who were all around at the grocery store or the mall, were at the time preparing to deploy to Iraq, some for the third time. Suddenly it was impossible not to recognize them as more than simply “the troops,” but rather as individuals. I think these images — made with long exposures, captured through a difficult process onto what are in effect unique objects — force the viewer to undergo a similar process.

Yes, I’m biased. But in this instance, I’m also right.

Not in Savannah? Well at least visit the project’s web site.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

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