Please note that this exhibition has been cancelled to ensure the health and safety of our community to flatten the curve of COVID-19.
At a time when photographic images are omnipresent, one could ask: What’s the value of a photograph? Furthermore, at an art school where photography is taught: Why study photography? The students who are currently enrolled in the photography program at Emily Carr University of Art + Design have asked these questions and the exhibition Reading and Being Read is their answer.
In a world that is saturated by photographic imagery, one needs to be image literate. The ability to read and fully understand a photograph is necessary to create meaning and navigate the complexity of the world. The students chose the photographic medium to not only eloquently respond to the pressing questions asked by our current times but also by the photographic medium itself. In the twenty-first century, the photographic image clearly has expanded beyond the act of exposing a light-sensitive medium to capture the world. So, what is a photograph and how can it be read in the year 2020?
The exhibition Reading and Being Read brings together critical works by Emily Carr’s photography students including Luis Villarreal, Svava Tergesen, Bruce Fraser, Delaney Soumang, Jake Kimble, Andres Imperial and Mikhela Greinert, and traces a line through significant themes and ideas that are in correspondence with the asked questions. The photographs in the exhibition also address the complexities and various layers that are inherent within the photographic medium: reading the photograph is tied to our predispositions—some of which viewers are conscious of, while others remain subconscious influences. In the words of Susan Sontag, “considered in this light, the photographs are us.”
Reading and Being Read is an inquiry and a celebration of the photographic medium—from “straight forward” to abstract, from documentary to staged: the exhibition functions as a survey of the current state of the photographic image as well as an introduction to young and relevant voices working with the medium in Vancouver.
The printing of work by Svava Tergesen was supported by a Tricera Printing Grant.