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"The Faceless Figure: Photographs from the Collection"
2003-12-20 until 2003-06-03
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, PA, USA

The human figure has long been a favorite subject of the camera. In this exhibition of more than fifty photographs from the Museum collection, artists purposely defy expectations and the conventions of portraiture by taking pictures of people whose faces are unseen. The result is a body of pictures ranging from the unsettling to the hilarious. Photographers Edward Weston and Barbara Morgan concentrate on the beauty and eloquence of the human form, while Lee Friedlander finds humor in figures whose faces are obscured by a camera or a placard.

In some images, the anonymity of the figure is used to suggest Everyman, while others teach us that it is not just the face that identifies individuality. Techniques used by the photographers include back views, silhouetting, and cropping. Other figures are cloaked, masked, or in motion. The exhibition includes inventive images by a wide range of photographers, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Connie Imboden, William Larson, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and Jerry Uelsmann.

IMAGE
Industrial Accident Victim, Daytona Beach, Florida
Burk Uzzle, American, born 1938
1984
Gelatin silver print
14 5/8 x 14 7/16 inches (37.1 x 36.7 cm)
20 x 16 inches (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
Photograph taken in: Daytona Beach,
Florida, United States of America
Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck
Fund and with funds contributed by
John and Jane Medveckis, Douglas
Mellor, and H. Ross Watson, Jr., 1984


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