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Photographs of Environment and Community

April 19, 2005 – July 17, 2005

The University of Texas at Austin's Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center explores the concept of location with "Place: Photographs of Environment and Community."

Drawn from the Ransom Center's collections, this exhibition highlights images by 18 contemporary photographers who have captured various senses of place in their work.

More than half of the 54 photographs in this exhibition depict communities and environments in Texas, while other places range from California and Louisiana to Mexico, Holland, Vietnam and even the moon.

"Place" can be described as a space invested with deep personal or social meaning. Operating between pure portraiture and pure landscape, these photographers' imaginative responses to their subjects could be called "cultural landscapes" or "environmental portraits."

Three predominant themes resonate through this exhibition: aspects of place within rural or urban communities, public histories and private memories, and our co-existence with the natural environment.

Some of the featured studies of Texas in this exhibition include Frank Gohlke's photographs of Wichita Falls, Rufus Lovett's images from Weeping Mary, Marla Sweeney's images from small towns throughout the state and Sarah Wilson's images from Jasper. Craig J. Barber's photographs in Vietnam, Byron Brauchli's images of Mexico and Beth Block's work in New York City are among the featured representations of place beyond regional boundaries.

"Landscape painters and photographers have long sought to capture 'a sense of place' in their works," says Curator David Coleman. "Today the concept of place has expanded to encompass a range of portraiture as well as investigations into our society's interaction with the environment. This broad theme has allowed us to present a variety of contemporary photography with styles ranging from documentary and photojournalism to art."