The Picture Review Edition 10: The Brutally Honest Portrait Curated by Elizabeth Avedon

American Gothic © Garret Stanley
Curator's Choice

The Brutally Honest Portrait  began with 200 photographs

Photograph © Leonid Furmansky

Photograph © Wanda Mellette 

 The Picture Review 10 Installation

The Picture Review 10 Installation

The Picture Review is an ongoing exhibition, lecture series, and mentoring program hosted in The Department of Professional Photography (The.DPP) at Austin Community College. Produced bi-annually by Department Chair Sean Perry, Maja Buck, and The Picture Review Team, this program has run through many editions since its inception. 

The Picture Review has collaborated with numerous icons in the field of photography, including Dan Winters, Michael O’Brien, Elinor Carucci, Jace Graf, Ven. Nicholas Vreeland, Mary Virginia Swanson, Susan Burnstine, Sarah Wilson and Clay Patrick McBride.

I was first introduced to this program in 2013 when Sean Perry invited me to visit with his class to mentor his students about strategies for curating and editing a large amount of photographs. I was honored to return again to work on this 10th Edition of The Picture Review curating a selection from "The Brutally Honest Portrait". The students started with 200 photographs that were refined to twelve large scale prints for exhibition. The show, sponsored by Hahnemühle Paper, is widely seen as it runs in The.DPP until December 2018, with past editions being installed in new locations throughout the college.


The Brutally Honest Portrait   
Curated by Elizabeth Avedon

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A Conversation with Garrett Stanley and Elizabeth Avedon 

The.DPP also ran a call for entry on Instagram open to its broader community. From those entries I selected Garret Stanley’s photograph, American Gothic, as my Curator’s Choice. The following is a short conversation between myself and Garrett about his start in photography. 

EA · Where are you from, and what do you love about making photographs?

GS · I am from South Austin, Texas (there is a difference from North Austin!) and I was child during a time in my city where rednecks and hippies were learning not only to co-exist, but to also enjoy each other's company. This city has given me a great appreciation for different perspectives and kindness.

The thing I love about making photographs is the experience of learning about a person. I work to create an image where the audience may feel something for a stranger that they may have overlooked otherwise. My favorite moment is the expression my subjects show when I tell them that I find them interesting and important and that I want to make their portrait.

EA · What interests you about photographing people?

GS ·  I care about people and their stories. I am humbled by the opportunity to honor someone when making a photograph about them. I am interested in contributing to the greater experience of how we each make our way in the world, sometimes feeling alone and yet together.

EA · Who is your dream publication to shoot for?

GS · I have two. First, being a Texan, I have dreamed of being in Texas Monthly since I was in middle school. The storytelling and the imagery has always touched my heart and inspired me to search for the truth.

The other would be Time magazine and Kira Pollack. Their "Person of the Year" issue and accompanying portrait always makes me pause. I still have my issue of Time magazine that was just a day or two after 9/11. I am inspired and encouraged by people helping people, of selflessness and community. Time has also shown me that as a photographer I have a responsibility to document what is going on around me.

EA · What’s next for you?

GS · Immediately next is applying to and attending PhotoNOLA this fall. I am filled with a mixture of anxiety and confidence, and I want to learn more about what others find as strong and weak points in my work. I want to be present, vulnerable, and sure all at the same time.

My fear of writing down what’s next is that once I write it, I am accountable to it. That said, I am working on a photo story about women incarcerated in Texas prisons. There are over 12,000 women in the Texas prison system. 10,000 of these women are mothers. This has tremendous impact on families and children’s futures.

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 Photograph © Andrew Welch
“The Hahnemühle Fine Print Award”

 Photograph © Christopher Newland

  Photograph © Malinda Baum

 Photograph © Andrew Porras

Photograph © Raeann Alcorta

Photograph © Justin Hopkins

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Sean Perry attended Berklee College of Music and was a working musician before turning to photography in 1996. He began his service as an Adjunct Professor of Photography in The Department of Professional Photography (The.DPP) at Austin Community College in 2001, and served as Adjunct Professor of Photography for the School of Visual Arts in New York City beginning in 2006. In 2016, he accepted a position at ACC as full-time Associate Professor.

Perry was awarded the The.DPP’s first ever Innovation Grant, which was used to create “The Picture Review” — a mentoring program featuring a series of exhibitions and lectures with special guest curators mentioned above. In 2015, he was honored as Adjunct Faculty Teacher of the Year and presented with the John and Suanne Roueche Award for Excellence for his role with this ongoing project. He is now Department Chair of Professional Photography at ACC in Austin.



Southern Stories #3
Photograph © Jessica Hines

Southern Stories #10
Photograph © Jessica Hines

Odd Stories #48
Photograph © Jessica Hines

The Beginning #56 / My Brother’s War
Photograph © Jessica Hines

I Pray For Your Spirit #10 / My Brother’s War
Photograph © Jessica Hines

The Reconciliation #13/ / My Brother’s War
Photograph © Jessica Hines

The box stood packed away high on a closet shelf for over twenty-five years. Packed by my mother, it contained the letters, photographs, medals, and important papers that had once belonged to my deceased brother, Gary. It was serendipitous that I came to open the box and read the letters. Not having read them since I was a child, the time period was brought back to life for me. It was as if I could hear my brother speaking – it was as if he were still alive and I was listening to him talk about his life. –Jessica Hines, My Brother’s War

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Artist and storyteller Jessica Hines, uses the camera’s inherent quality as a recording device to explore illusion and to suggest truths that underlie the visible world. At the core of Hines’ work lies an inquisitive nature inspired by personal memory, experience and the unconscious mind. Don't miss her exhibition now showing in Edinburgh, Scotland and her Gallery Talk in person July 10th!

Jessica Hines: Dreamland
thru July 31, 2018
Studio Bizio
20a Raeburn Place
Edinburgh, Scotland

 Artist Gallery Talk:  July 10, 7pm

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My 2014 Interview with Jessica Hines for 
L'Oeil de la Photographie Magazine 

I was honored to be asked to work on Jessica Hines beautiful and moving project, My Brother’s War. I was impressed with the amount of research Jessica put into locating and speaking with her brother's wartime friends and attending the reunion of her brother's units in Viet Nam: The 178th ASHC, The Boxcars and the 132nd ASHC, Hercules, as well as traveling to Viet Nam to retrace her brother’s “footsteps”.... Here is an excerpt from our 2014 conversation:

Elizabeth Avedon: Was your image, Southern Stories #15, part of an ongoing series?

Jessica Hines: Yes, Southern Stories developed out of my own curiosity, frustration, and fascination with life in the southern United States – a place where I have lived for years. This is “home” now and the place has cast a strange “spell” over me with its “dark” past that still haunts this landscape. At the same time though, the South has a quirkiness that I love, and a memorable beauty and charm – a place like no other. The images I produced for this series are made serendipitously, without anticipation or planning.

EA: Can you tell us something about the experience of shooting this image? What captured your attention to take this photograph? 

JH: What I love so much about the photographic process, as I experience it, is the unexpected chance encounter. I was driving the back roads with my camera one day when I decided to stop at the remains of an abandoned store. Scattered around the yard were broken pieces of pottery, odds and ends and old furniture that had been left to weather for maybe a couple of decades or more. No one was in sight and the only sound I could hear was that of a nearby barking dog.  After making my way around the yard, I ventured further out to the edge of an open field where, against a tree, and poking out from underneath a pile of leaves, I saw an old toy ship. It was weathered, too, and looked as though it must have lain there, undisturbed, for at least ten or maybe twenty+ years.  What a treasure! I picked it up and set it on top of a branch, the barking dog and doghouse were right behind it. It all came together very suddenly. Perfect.

A few weeks passed and I returned to this spot, not far from my home, only to find the dog and doghouse were gone. No signs of life remained. Several months later, I returned again to find only an empty lot – the old store had been completely demolished and the area stripped bare of any signs that a building had ever existed in that space. Bare earth. When I pass that way again now, I feel mournful at that “blankness” that remains.

EA:  How did you originally get involved in photography?

JH: My father was an artist who liked to use the camera and it was through him that I received my introduction to the “magic” box. When I was thirteen, my next-door neighbors bought for me my first 35mm camera as a Christmas gift, allowing me to further explore photography. Eventually, I earned a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My path led me to teaching photography at the university level for the past three decades at Georgia Southern University.

EA: Is there a photography icon you met, would like to meet, or wish you had met, that has influenced or inspired you? 

JH: Duane Michals has long been a figure who impressed me with his creative genius, charm and wit, his sensitivity, humor, and profundity. My dream of meeting him came true, on what turned out to be several occasions, and I later invited him to speak at Georgia Southern University where I teach photography. I even cooked dinner for him at home and it was as if I was seeing a vision when I happened to look over and see Duane sitting at my dining room table. Grateful for that.

I would love to meet Sophie Calle. When I was in Paris in 2010, I had the good fortune of seeing her show: All About Her Mother at the Palais de Tokyo. I feel a deep connection to her via our constructed imagery and intimate stories involving those close to us. Maybe one day our paths will cross and I will be lucky.

EA: Apart from developing a great body of work, what are your objectives; what are you working on next?

JH: For the past eight years, I have been dedicated to a story-telling photography project, My Brother’s War. The story is a long and complex one but in short, my brother, Gary, went to war in Viet Nam, returned with PTSD and committed suicide about ten years after returning home. Because vets from that war were not welcomed back home in the US, he moved to Colorado to escape the hostile society and to try to readjust to civilian life. I was a young child when he left and was sent away to live with a number of foster parents until I was in high school. I never had the chance to really know Gary because we didn’t live in the same state. When I did visit my parents twice a year, Gary was either in Viet Nam or Colorado so we met only once in that time and I didn’t see him again until I was much older. Our time together was cut away and cut short.

I’ve retraced his “footsteps” using his letters, photographs and memorabilia. Twice I’ve visited Viet Nam to see the place where he was stationed, Chu Lai; and I’ve made so many discoveries. At this point, I am nearing the end of this work and finishing the final images and text before looking for a publisher.

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Jessica Hines has won a multitude of photography awards, the most recent was 1st Place in the Kuala Lumpur International PhotoAwards, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Tokyo International Photography Awards, Silver Place; Moscow International Foto Awards, Honorable Mention; 1st Place in NEXT: New Photographic Visions, Castell Photography Gallery, curated by Elizabeth Avedon, Asheville, North Carolina; Winner of the 2013 PDN Photography Annual; The Kolga Award for Best Experimental Photography, Kolga Tbislisi Photo in Tbilisi, Georgia; Humanitarian Documentary Grant in the WPGA Annual, Pollux Awards, juried by Philip Brookman, Chief Curator and Head of Research at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC; First Prize in Fine Art Portfolio in the World Wide Photography Gala Awards; Grand Prize for portfolio in the Lens Culture International Exposure Awards 2010; and her work was exhibited in the New York Photo Festival 2011 in Subjective/Objective, curated by Elisabeth Biondi, New York, New York. There's more!



"Leo" from "Transcend" project
​Photograph © Sandra Chen Weinstein

"Asher and Hart" from "Transcend" project
 ​Photograph © Sandra Chen Weinstein

 "Lee" from "Transcend" project
 ​Photograph © Sandra Chen Weinstein

 "Sandra and Lee" from "Transcend" project
 ​Photograph © Sandra Chen Weinstein

 “Untitled” from "SHE/They" project
 ​Photograph © Sandra Chen Weinstein

 ​ "Dignity for Palestine”
Photograph © Sandra Chen Weinstein

My adult child came out recently as queer, transgender, non-binary at age 28. I was surprised, but it took me no time to embrace my child as who they are. I am there for my child in the delicate transition of identity, psychological complexity, depression, challenge and discrimination.  My love for my child is infinite and unconditional; I support them and hope our example will help others.” 
Sandra Chen Weinstein
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I first became aware of Sandra Chen Weinstein's exceptional work several years ago at a private Portfolio Review at The Griffin Museum of Photography. Since then, her series "SHE/They" made a great impression in many of the exhibitions I've worked on. As she describes it's importance within the context of our time, "This series of candid, yet intimate, women portraits illuminates the dynamic and complex feminine psychology, the perception of tradition, love, identity and ideals in life. As a whole the work seeks to demonstrate how women inhabit diverse bodies and express complex forms of self-determination."

Sandra Chen Weinstein is a self-taught photographer whose work focuses on documentary photography, emphasizing social identity, culture, and minorities. She has dedicated long-term projects on women, minorities, and American pop culture, receiving numerous distinguished awards including 1st Prize in 2017 Kuala Lumpur' International Photo Awards, winner of Robert Cornelius Portrait Award and two-time winner of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award, among others. 

Curator Carol McCusker wrote about Chen Weinstein's exhibition "Dignity for Palestine” shown at the 2018 Auckland Festival of Photography, "Sandra’s images—often artfully framed, with a disarming intimacy—reveal a vibrant, complicated community, one we rarely see in the American press. Chen Weinstein walked the streets of the Arab West Bank, from Jerusalem, Jenin to Hebron, and took photographs. For many Palestinians, Chen Weinstein was the first Taiwanese/Chinese woman they had encountered; there is an openness toward her because of this. "Dignity for Palestine," a piece of instructional history comes quietly but indelibly across—the Palestinians are survivors"

And more recently I've had the honor of working privately with Ms. Chen Weinstein on her most personal project to date, "TRANSEND". I've been very moved by her early struggle whether to reveal her own private history within this series, ultimately spotlighting her story to bring awareness to other families.  I interviewed her between her travels about this new series so close to her heart.

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Elizabeth Avedon: An exhibition of 24 portraits from your latest series “TRANSCEND” was showing at the Rokko Photography Festival in Kobe, Japan and opening as a solo exhibition at the Mirage Gallery in Kobe June 15 to July 31. Tell me about the portraits that make up TRANSCEND.

Sandra Chen Weinstein: Like me, parents and fa­milies have gone through a lengthy and sometimes difficult time with their loved ones through some struggles during the transition of their child feeling “lost and found”. Sadly, however, a number of families have left their children to struggle on their own because they cannot accept such changes.  Parents who support their child are constantly in living fear for their child because the discrimination and retribution.  

These intimate portraits are of the LGBTQ community, their families and their loved ones. The subjects are photographed in their own environment to allow a more engaging view from their perspective and their families. They are displayed with their own quotes and audio recording of their voices about themselves and their loved ones. 

My goal is to unveil and celebrate the identity for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer with families, friends, and allies showing unconditional love and equality.  The work seeks to aid social justice against stereotype and stigma long existed.  

EA: How did this series begin? Was it personal in any way?

SCW: I started this project during 2016 while I was working on another series "SHE/ They."  It was mirroring the emotional journey I was on myself, as well as being inspired by my child on both projects.  It is very personal since my child came out as transgender non-binary at age 28, preferring the pronoun “THEY” in the beginning of 2016.   

EA: There are some very moving portraits in this series. How did you find the subjects in your photographs?

After my child came out to me, I sought support during the process of transition with my child.  I met some parents and family members of various groups that support the LGBTQ community.  I was fortunate to also learn of other subjects to photograph from friends and by word of mouth. 

EA: Is this series an evolution from your past work or how do you view it in the context of your overall career?

My portfolios, “Transcend” and "SHE/They," are both more intimate subjects to me perhaps than prior work. These capture the subject in portraits that are in a more personal space for them and for me. I was looking for inner emotion and dynamic range when the moments arose.

My photography is focused on the human condition and the complexity of both the physical and the psychological.  My sincerest hope is to use photography as a tool for social change in the humanity of the world. My work is greatly inspired and influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sebastiгo Salgado, Susan Meisela, Eli Reed when I started my photographic art.

EA: You have an eclectic array of subjects in your past work, all exceptional images, but all basically people. I’m thinking of your cowgirl at the rodeo in the Texas Photographic Society exhibition, your 17 images from your series “Facets of India” in La Revue de France Culture (N. 23), and your portraits and street photos in Palestine showing at the Auckland Festival of Photography.

SCW: I am interested in challenging subjects in photography and photographing people are the most challenging I’ve found.  I have been working on exploring identity in the complexity and diversity of social and cultural backgrounds.  I feel people are the key element to make any possible changes for a better world. People are continuing to evolve through differences and celebrating both their common and unique heritages.          

EA: How does your series “TRANSCEND” differ from the images you’ve shown at the Auckland Festival of Photography?

SCW: “Dignity of Palestine” is about the Palestinians’ struggles and surviving  in oppression, occupation, and life in an apartheid state and how that impacts lives, environment, their land, and country.  “Seoul Searching” is showing the extreme contrast from the North and South Korea across the DMZ contrasted with the pop culture life style for the South Korean. “Transcend” is about love and relationship in LGBTQ and their family portrayed in their homes or in a familiar environment. To me, they are all connected to who we are and our lives in both social and political subjects.            

 Sandra Chen Weinstein
June 15 to July 31, 2018
Mirage Gallery
Kobe-shi, Hyogo,
Japan  650-0012
Artist Gallery Talk, July 7, 2018

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Dignity for Palestine 
Seoul Searching
Auckland Festival of Photography2018


SHERI LYNN BEHR: BeSeeingYou at The Griffin Museum of Photography

Photography Without Permission
Photograph © Sheri Lynn Behr

Photographs © Sheri Lynn Behr

Sheri Lynn Behr's upcoming book!

Sheri Lynn Behr
June 14 – July 15, 2018

Reception: June 14, 2018 7-8:30 PM
Gallery Talk: June 14, 2018 6:15 PM

The Griffin Museum of Photography
67 Shore Road , Winchester, Ma 

Sheri Lynn Behr’s work deals with photography without permission and our surveillance society. Her photographs have been widely exhibited, at spaces including the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, The Griffin Museum of Photography, and The Center for Fine Art Photography. They also appear in American, international and on-line publications, including Harper’s Magazine, Slate: Behold blog, People’s Photography (China), and The Boston Globe. In 2012 she received a Fellowship in Photography from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. A shout out to Griffin Museum Director, Paula Tognarelli, always ahead of our time. And thanks to the Puffin Foundation for funding this exhibit.


DANIEL W. COBURN: Elizabeth Houston Gallery

Untitled, 2017, from the project Becoming a Specter
Photograph © Daniel Coburn

June 6 – August 17, 2018

"Some photographs faithfully record the world in front of them. Others bend the objects presented to the camera through the mind’s lens, transforming them beyond surface appearances. This latter approach reveals the surrealism already present within the real, confronting us directly with the ambiguities we too often deny."

"Daniel Coburn’s Becoming a Specter traffics in these paradoxes, teasing out the tension below the surfaces of our most intimate conceptions of ourselves and others. Although Coburn’s photographs are domestic, they are never banal. The artist does not buy into the tepid reality of mortgages, traditional families, and material largess. Instead, Becoming a Specter speaks to us in the language of our deeper desires—and fears. It is playful, and yet eerily foreboding. Like water, its meaning is mutable, slipping through our fingers just as we begin to grasp it."

"Water, it seems, takes pride of place in Coburn’s photographs. The artist and his kin submerge themselves in the blinding light of the sea, haloed by the reflective stars of its surface. There are biblical precedents, to be sure, in baptism. But water has its own mercurial symbolism, by turns suggesting troublesome times and undifferentiated chaos as much as it does eternal salvation. The world is birthed through water, all of the best and worst of it. Coburn’s landscapes are more than meets the eye. Like the water that features in them, they are psychological terrain, and oxymoron's the law of the land." ....read more at Elizabeth Houston Gallery 

Daniel Coburn is a recipient of a 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.  He was named as a finalist for the Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture the same year.

June 6 - August 17

Reception: Wed June 6, 7-9pm

190 Orchard Street, New York, NY