June 7, 2012 - July 1, 2012
“I could not have learned about love without photography, and I am still learning.”
Blue Sky is proud to present a selection of original prints by renowned photographer Gay Block from her most recent career survey publication, About Love (Radius Books, 2011). Included in this presentation are portraits from all of Block’s major photographic projects since 1973, including “Bertha Alyce,” “The Women the Girls Are Now,” “Rescuers,” and “South Miami Beach.”
“Through photography I have learned about love. These are lessons I hadn’t learned at home or in school. I began making portraits so I could ask people about their lives and their values. Their answers helped form and shape me. Through them I began to know who I could be and what indiscriminate empathy and love could feel like. I have been grateful that others pushed the medium of photography into new realms but that has not been my pursuit. I began with my mother because I had no other way to approach understanding her. It took me ten years after her death but it was a happy day when I began to miss her. Making other portraits fueled my hunger to know more people who would open me to love – the Yiddish community of South Miami Beach, the camp girls, their beauty and promise all over their faces, rescuers who risked their lives to save Jews, and all the people who generously allowed me to ask them personal questions, hard questions, that led to my feeling each was my best friend. Especially rescuers – they filled me with love and hope.”
Gay Block began her career as a portrait photographer in 1973 with portraits of her own affluent Jewish community in Houston. The ever-widening expanse of her projects followed both family lines, in “Camp Girls”, and the Jewish community, in “South Miami Beach”. Her approach to portraiture is motivated by the desire to move beyond superficial representation, often making extensive audio and film recordings of conversations with her subjects. Block’s multiple award-winning short film about her mother, Bertha Alyce, has been shown in over 25 film festivals and is included with her book Bertha Alyce: Mother exPosed. Her landmark work with writer Malka Drucker, Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust, both a book and traveling exhibition, has been seen in over 50 venues in the U.S. and abroad, including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, in 1992. Block’s photographs are included in museums and private collections throughout the United States, including the the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; and the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson.