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I got this image on a family gathering some weeks ago. It must have been taken in the 70ties,
in the former German Democratic Republic.
I like the girl´s expression: it´s open, and it is fragile. It emanates a certain warmth. I like how she has decorated the wall, as every teenager would have done it, under communism,or capitalism, forty years ago or now. Boy heroes and little cut outs, dear to her, or one of her siblings. She is sitting on a bunk bed, so she had to share her room with at least on sister.She, to me, does look like a young woman. Anyway, her hairdo, her colorful dress, and the stockings could be the attire of a grown up.

Not art but memory. The movement of time engraved into one image. Innocence, the future still to come. Did it ever come? We were dreaming. Were we dreaming?

Here photography is really by itself, here it is what it should be and could be at its best: recording those moments in time that are valuable just because they are part of our lives. Images that never meant to be art. Images that don´t have to compete, images that don´t have to be promoted. Images that won´t be exhibited, images that will be kept as long somebody cares about them.

The photograph could have been part of the “Early Work Project”. It wasn´t.

Curators’ Statement

The idea for Early Works came from a conversation in which we exchanged stories about discovering photography at an early age. What was it about the medium that kindled our imaginations when we were young?
We wanted to revisit the moment when other contemporary photographers first connected with the medium. We were curious about what childhood images might show us about the nascent stages of creative vision. For many of us, an early fascination with photography led to a life-long passion. How do photographers keep their relationship to the medium alive over the years, and ultimately choose to make it their professional voice?
Many childhood experiences live in our subconscious and are often difficult to navigate, even as adults. Memories of historic moments, of families unraveling, of play, discovery, and struggles with identity are a part of our collective history. This project is about imagery, but equally about personal narrative. A photograph can serve as a strong visual cue that can spark a rich story in a second.

Laura Moya & Laura Valenti Jelen

Participants:

Corey Arnold, Roger Ballen, Douglas Beasley, Steven Beckly, Sheri Lynn Behr, Lori Bell, Jesse Burke, Richard S. Chow, Joseph Deiss, Maureen Drennan, Deena Feinberg, Gloria Baker Feinstein, Rich Frishman, Michael Jang, Zoltán Jókay, Ann Kendellen, Lewis Koch, Hannah Kozak, Varese Layzer, Phoebe Lickwar, Jim Lommasson, Anne Leighton Massoni, David Pace, Stephen Perloff, Jaime Permuth, Alexis Pike, Jordan Reznick, Trix Rosen, T. Scott, Jack Semura, Frederick Sharpe, Marsha Stewart, Stephanie Williamson, Charlyn Zlotnik

I don´t think this project is about the quality of the photographs that were submitted. It´s all about the stories going with them. Reading them I am moved.
So many stories, so many memories. Sometimes pain. Look for yourself.