Monday, February 25, 2008

Picturing the World

Ackland Art Museum has a very powerful and oft-times disturbing exhibit of photographs by North Carolina's photo-journalists. A good photograph like any good art has a power to move. Some of these photographs not only are beautiful they can be a firm kick in the solar plexus. Photo-journalist Adrea Bruce's pictures of the Iraq war are not only beautiful they are deeply moving. A powerful image of a child crying after the accidental shooting of her parents by American soldiers is particularly poignant. Janet Jarman's series of photos following a Mexican family's odyssey in America tells the tale better than any words on paper could. Their initial condition, their aspiration to come to America. The cultural and class divide once they get here and their ultimate failure to secure an economic foothold here. There is a particularly telling picutre of the young Mexican girl Marisol staring over the fence of her new American backyard at a little American girl of the same age. The American Girls' parents have forbidden her to play with Marisol, and yet they meet at the fence, the great cultural divide of class and economics. Not all the pictures tell sad stories. Often you would not know a photo represented a harsh reality based on it content and composition. In this case its well worth it to read the explanations and enjoy the art even though it might unsettle the mind.

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