Exploring America’s Social Landscape Through Photography
Bennington Museum and Bennington College have collaborated in selecting photographs from the portfolios of Jonathan Brand, John Hubbard, Neil Rappaport, Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander for a special exhibition, ‘People/Place: American Social Landscape Photography, 1950-1980.’ “Each of these photographers explores the human condition within the public sphere, the social landscape. Careful framing and split second timing are key aspects of their practice, and we have selected a wide range of their best work,” states Jonathan Kline, faculty member at the College. The exhibit will be on view at the Bennington Museum from Saturday, August 15, through November 8. Each image in this exhibition provides a window that allows the viewer to look back in time. Bennington Museum is located at 75 Main Street/Route 9 in Bennington. Visit benningtonmuseum.org or call 802-447-1571 for more information.
Jonathan Brand’s journey In October 1967, from Manhattan’s Upper West Side to Bennington was fully documented in his black and white images. He shot approximately 50 rolls of film in three days, capturing gleaming new gas stations and rusty old cars; interiors of the Paradise Motel and a diner on West Main Street; tourists visiting the Bennington Battle Monument; monks at the monastery at the Everett Mansion and more, amassing over 1,000 images. In 2010, 174 of them were donated to the Bennington Museum.
John Hubbard’s photographs vividly capture the people of Bennington as they worked and played 35 to 40 years ago, offering glimpses into the lesser-known social aspects of the town. As a young, socially conscious man living in Vermont in the early 1970s, many of his images depict young progressive types including artists, craftspeople and back-to-the-landers. Added to these are portraits of older people.
Neil Rappaport lived and worked in Pawlet for nearly 30 years. He was a self-taught photographer who established the photography program at Bennington College, where he served on the faculty from 1970 to 1997. Around 1979, Rappaport began taking students from his Advanced Photography class on field projects into the communities that surrounded the college. These photographs – over 165 of them and all anonymous – became a visual census of life in Bennington in the late 1970s. Although Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander rarely travelled through southern Vermont, they are both known as the most influential American street photographers of the second half of the 20th century. Winogrand’s spontaneous images of everyday life frequently incorporate unusual camera angles and implausible configurations of people; Friedlander is best known for complicating the viewing experience by the use of reflections and shadows, and using street signs and windows as framing devices.