Thursday, 11 September 2008

Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

A visit to the Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art , Cornell University, New York, was a small exquisite window on a disparate group of minor masterpieces.
This Museum is some way out of the town of Ithaca, at the end of Cayuga Lake, New York State. It is part of Cornell University. Entry is free. We visited it in August 2008 for the first time. You need a car to get to the Museum from Ithaca.
I was particularly fascinated and impressed by the exhibition of black and white photographs by Mary Ellen Mark (b1940) entitled The Prom Series - and on show from August 9 - October 26.
Please take a look at the web site link above. Unfortunately it does not give a very good idea of the size and scope of the photography exhibition.
But I have found Mary Ellen Marks own web site which gives all the images, and here it is
These photographs are large, and well hung in spacious galleries. The presence of the teenagers that she captures epitomizes dignity combined with flamboyance and exhibitionism. I guess that Mary Ellen is able to bring out these qualities in young people who may not be experienced in displaying their bodies so openly - a great quality in a photographer of people. The stories of these couples is hinted at and I found myself wanting to know what happened next. They are just the beginning of the story.
Do go and see these photographs if you get the chance.

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