|Kimiko Yoshida, Cindy Sherman and Heather Bennett illustrate the "conceptual portrait."|
What's most remarkable about Portrait/Process, the lush new exhibit at the International Photography Hall of Fame, is not merely the sheer diversity of "portraits" on display, but also the show's animating concept — charting how photographic processes, once a binding limitation of the medium, have become as integral to artistic expression as the moment a photographer releases the shutter.
The show, organized by Ellen Curlee, takes the long view, comprising everything from early daguerreotypes and tintypes, to iPhone photos and video. In that sense, Portrait/Process offers viewers the opportunity to consider the entire history of photography through the lens of the portrait. In another sense, however, the exhibit's narrow focus allows for an illuminating meditation on something else: Namely, how the portrait, once thought of as an accurate representation of the sitter, has changed over the years — morphing first into the gauzy idealism of the studio portrait, to the frank grittiness of the environmental portrait and, finally, to the highly processed, nearly abstract images so prevalent today. In other words, Portrait/Process invites viewers to consider not only how we've seen others through the years, but also how we've seen ourselves.More »