Best of Show

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Alice Gabriner | IPA 2021 Curator



The earliest surviving photograph depicts a simple scene taken from a window in France by the scientist Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1827. In the nearly 200 years since, a vast archive has been created, with many images embedded in our collective consciousness. As Irving Penn noted, “the most vital record of human existence is the visual record.”

Cameras allow us to explore people, places, and the natural world. Through a lens we can take note of everything from the mundane to the extraordinary. Despite what seems like a neverending visual flow with an estimated 1 trillion pictures made every year and 95 million shared on Instagram daily, photographs continue to both inform and awaken consequential political and cultural movements. Though changes in media and technology have brought about massive shifts, and while ethics of the professional practice are increasingly debated, one constant is the imperative nature of the medium. Pictures can still make us feel intensely.

These 30 photographs exhibited represent the myriad ways we see, encapsulating the interpretations, experiences, and imagination of the diverse individuals behind the camera. Whether it be a visual love poem, a unique observation, or an historic event witnessed, the collective work links together art, evidence, artifacts, and fleeting moments frozen in time.

Photography has the magical power to transform three dimensions into a flattened plane. An entirely new perspective is forever preserved. The resulting images, once offered to the world, have the power to connect us across borders and through time.

Alice Gabriner
Visual Editor and Educator
October 20, 2021