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The View From Here:
Elliott Erwitt, Alex Webb, Scott B. Davis

 

The View From Here: Photographs by Elliott Erwitt, Alex Webb, Scott B. Davis

Dates: January 22, 2008 – March 22, 2008

Reception: Saturday, January 26th, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Location:
Etherton Gallery
135 S. Sixth Avenue
Tucson, Arizona 85701

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11 - 5 , Thursday 11 - 7

Contact: (520) 624-7370 :: Daphne Srinivasan, Hannah Glasston, Terry Etherton

 

Etherton Gallery is pleased to present The View From Here: Photographs by Elliott Erwitt, Alex Webb and Scott B. Davis. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, January 26th, from 7:00pm to 10:00pm. Both Elliott Erwitt and Alex Webb will be available to sign copies of their recent books at the reception. The exhibition runs through March 22, 2008. Etherton Gallery is located at 135 S. 6th Avenue, between Broadway and 12th Street, in downtown Tucson.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Etherton Gallery is co-sponsoring an artist talk with Elliott Erwitt to be held on Friday, January 25th at 5:30pm at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, in the CCP Auditorium.

The View From Here is really about being there. Two of the photographers in the exhibition, Elliott Erwitt and Alex Webb, are Magnum photographers who have travelled extensively to produce some of their most iconic work. Both men share a similar philosophy about their work that harkens back to the early days of street photography, even though Erwitt has spent much of his career doing magazine and advertising photography. Erwitt, one of the earliest members of Magnum, articulates his way of working in a pithy one-liner. “F-8 and be there.” Alex Webb, one of the youngest members to join Magnum, takes a similar view, but expresses how he works more poetically. “I only know how to approach a place by walking. For what does a street photographer do but walk and watch and wait and talk and then watch and wait some more, trying to remain confident that the unexpected, the unknown, or the secret heart of the known awaits just around the corner.” Yet no matter where each photographer travels, Managua or Istanbul, they take their unmistakable, authorial imprint with them. Webb and Erwitt also share a fundamental concern for the human condition. Each adheres to what founding member Henri Cartier-Bresson believed was a fundamental tenet of Magnum Photos, a “share[d] curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on and a desire to transcribe it visually.”

Erwitt, whose place in the history of photography is secure, has carved a unique niche for himself. His signature photographs are visual witticisms and poignant images of ordinary life. His humanist understanding of the world is informed by post-World War II Italian, social realist films by Rossellini and De Sica. In contrast, Alex Webb is drawn to the heat and color of the world of the South. One is tempted to say, the world of the politically and economically downtrodden, but Webb’s motives are not overtly political, like those of Sebastiao Salgado. While Erwitt’s images are whole, but humorous or ambiguous, Webb’s are fragmented, sometimes dark and usually formally complex. He activates the entire frame. If there is such a thing as a decisive moment then Webb captures it. However, the apotheosis of that moment dissipates quickly, and the formally resolved image in the frame dissolves and re-fragments.

It is Erwitt’s sympathy and respect for the everyday, as well as his ability to find humor in it, that draws us to his photographs. He is best known for images like California (1955), which captures the reflection in the driver’s side mirror, of a couple kissing in a parked car. Another iconic photograph is New York City (1974), made while working on an assignment photographing women’s shoes. Erwitt produced this image of a little dog wearing a knitted sweater and hat standing next to two giant sets of legs that extend beyond the frame. One set of legs wears a pair of knee-high boots; the other set belongs to a Great Dane. One of Erwitt’s most troubling and ambiguous photographs is Pittsburgh (1950), in which a smiling young African-American boy points a toy gun at his head, as though he were going to shoot himself. In contrast, Webb is known for photographs that touch on the clash of cultures, such as San Ysidro, which features illegal immigrants being arrested at the U.S. - Mexico border, in a beautiful field of wavy grasses. Another iconic photograph is India, a photograph highlighting two awnings with eyes drawn on them, obscuring the men and women who stand beneath.

The View From Here also features the photography of Scott B. Davis, whose moody, black and white platinum prints, are mindful of film noir. Davis has photographed the urban West, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas and most recently, Tucson in his exploration of overlooked and empty spaces of the West.

 

Represented in Tucson by Etherton Gallery, the artists are available for interviews upon request. Please contact the gallery at 520-624-7370 or email us at info@ethertongallery.com to schedule an interview or for more information about their work.

 

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