Witness to Beauty
July 6-30, 2017
“For a brief period in her youth my mother was a model, photographed by Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, and once on the cover of LIFE Magazine. As a child, I grew up as a witness to her beauty: I used to lie on her bed, with the dogs, and watch her try on clothes and study herself critically in the mirror. As I grew older, there was no use competing with her and so I assumed my position, quite happily, on the other side of the camera.”
In Witness to Beauty, photographer Sage Sohier presents images of her mother, former fashion model Wendy Morgan, whom she has been photographing since the 1990s. These vibrant color portraits of Morgan are both posed and candid, and often include Sohier herself along with her sister, Laine, to reveal tender, humorous, and at times, tense moments in front of the camera. Despite societal pressures to conform to youth-obsessed standards of feminine beauty, Sohier's nuanced tribute to her mother highlights strength and stoicism in the face of aging and more importantly, the lasting beauty found in experiencing life's joys and sharing them with others.
Sage Sohier has been photographing people in their environments for more than 30 years. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University and has received fellowships from the No Strings Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation. Sohier has exhibited solo shows at Foley Gallery in New York, Carroll and Sons Gallery in Boston, and The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. Her work has also been included in group shows at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the International Center of Photography in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and many other venues. Sohier’s work is in the collections of MoMA, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Portland Art Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum, among others. Sohier’s monograph of Witness to Beauty was recently published in 2016 by Kehrer Verlag. Other monographs by Sohier include At Home with Themselves: Same-Sex Couples in 1980s America (Spotted Books, 2014), About Face (Columbia College Chicago Press, 2012), and Perfectible Worlds (Photolucida, 2007). This is Sohier’s sixth show at Blue Sky.