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.

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