Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ
In his series Reflections, Terrence A. Reese, also known as TAR, depicts pioneers from a variety of fields who have shaped American culture and history. Featuring a wide range of African American politicians, artists, educators, and musicians—many with overlapping roles as activists who have fought against racial, social, and economic inequality—Reflections depicts a more personal view of these public figures.
Reese carefully frames and composes each portrait, depicting his subjects as reflections in mirrors within their homes, offices, and studios. His resulting photographs are layered and complex, revealing the photographic process as a collaborative, focused encounter between artist and subject. Accompanying each photograph is a text by Reese that describes both the contributions of the sitters, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Gordon Parks, Lois Mailou Jones, B.B. King, and Eleanor Holmes Norton, and his own anecdotal reflections about making the photograph. Intimate and expansive, Reese’s sixty black and white photographs made throughout the past two decades serve to memorialize and document his iconic sitters.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Read a review of the Reflections series and the exhibition.
Whether you go or not, the publication, Reflections, presents this black and white documentary-style photography series, which captures the personal living spaces of renowned African Americans whose lives and careers have addressed the fundamental political, economic, and social realities of the 20th century and beyond. In each photographic image, a mirror is strategically placed and, the subject is reflected in it. The images invite the eye to move about within the boundaries of the image, not encompassing it all in one glance. The exercise reveals the unforeseen and true nature of the individual. It is the challenge of locating the subject's image in the mirror that becomes an intriguing and rewarding experience. Each image is accompanied by a personal written memoir of the photo shoot that further draws the viewer into the space. The text reveals a creative collaboration of dialogue between photographer and subject.
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