Documentary, “Mirror to the World”

Darrow Montgomery

by Darrow Montgomery

April 7 – May 14, 2017

Frank Van Riper

Photoworks is proud to announce that ‘Mirror to the World,’ the acclaimed annual exhibition of documentary photography from around the world, will open this year on Friday, April 7th at the Photoworks Gallery at Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo, Md.

This will be the ninth—and final—incarnation of this popular showcase of emerging photographic talent, that was created in 2009 by photographer, author and longtime Photoworks instructor Frank Van Riper.

“It has been a spectacular run,” said Van Riper, who joined the Photoworks faculty more than a dozen years ago, “but it’s time to move on to new things and new projects.” Author of several bestselling books, Van Riper said he looks forward to even more teaching at Photoworks, and also to beginning work on his sixth book.

Five photo essays will comprise the show—each accompanied by written text.

“As before, I am proud to have curated an excellent array of documentary work,” Van Riper said. “I wanted this final show to be a blockbuster, and I believe it will be.”

In addition to returning photographers Fred Zafran and Christine Pearl—who last showed in ‘Mirror to the World 2013’—two superb shooters will exhibit in ‘Mirror’ for the first time:

Photographer Darrow Montgomery, known to Washingtonians over the past 20 years for his work in the City Paper, will present a series of iPhone street photographs—‘DC Street’—that mix a deft eye for urban detail with superb composition in both color and black and white.

Veteran DC-area shooter Valerie Makepeace will debut ‘American Roadside Retro,’ an evocative look at the American southwest. Her square format images depict derelict motels, gas stations and desert scenes in vibrant, almost surreal, color.

In the show’s only black and white essay, Christine Pearl offers ‘Four in Hand,’ a 20-image picture story documenting life and landscapes along more than a thousand miles of rural roads from Maine to the Mississippi River. The title refers to the rigging on stagecoaches that moved goods and passengers along these roads more than a century ago.

Fred Zafran’s photo essay, ‘A Stranger in My Home,’ may be the show’s most cerebral offering: a multi-photo essay of seemingly unrelated images that nevertheless hang together for the feelings they evoke. “What is it that imbues a photograph with the power to point beyond itself,” Zafran asks the viewer, “…to illuminate that which is deeply felt by the artist, but which can’t be photographed directly?”

Finally, ‘The Dying City’ offers a fascinating glimpse at Civita di Bagnoregio, an isolated Italian hill town whose ancient—and ecologicially threatened—structures are reachable only by a pedestrian footbridge. The essay is by seven photographers who joined Frank Van Riper and his wife and professional partner Judith Goodman during their annual photography workshop in Umbria last fall. The photographers are: Gana Browning, Penny Frates, Diana and Steve Hoppin, Ginger Werz-Petricka, Ron Petricka and Cherry Wyman.

The show runs through May 14, 2017.

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