Anti-Hero

One person I bumped into at the New York Photo Festival was Ports Bishop, who has recently co-curated a show at the Mountain Fold Gallery titled 'Anti Hero'. I went down to the gallery to check out the work on display. There are ten photographers represented, here is a selection.


Mark Borthwick



Ports Bishop



Tobin Yelland


Yu Ukai

The reason for the title of the show is perhaps best explained in this paragraph from the press release:

The photographers’ varying roles within their work raise the question of how they cast themselves in their own lives: if these photographs portray their stories, is the artist the hero—that traditional actor, who seeks to overcome obstacles to claim the life that he desires? Or the anti-hero, who understands himself as susceptible to and shaped by his observations as well as his ideals?

I thought the photographs definitely represented the idea of the photographer as someone who is 'susceptible to and shaped by' the world around them. One of the beautiful aspects of photography is that it allows a moment, an image of a certain time and place to be recorded and contemplated later. The photographer is compelled to click the shutter at a precise moment, without always knowing why. Even if the reason is known, is it always possible to communicate this to another viewer? Will they see what the photographer sees, or something different?

All these things I thought while I was looking at this show, as the images here were deceptively simple. They offered up moments without explanation, they seemed casual yet deliberate. Photography can turn an apparently ordinary scene into something extraordinary, and I felt this is what I was looking at here. It was if the photographers were saying 'look at this, isn't it wonderful?' and in many cases I would have to answer 'yes'. Why? Because life is wonderous, and we should always take a moment to contemplate that.

'Anti Hero' runs until June 28th 2008.

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