Museum Exhibits Curated by Journalism Professor and Students

Posted on: September 3, 2013

curateThe driving force behind MSU Museum's two upcoming photography exhibits can be found within the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Howard Bossen, professor of photography and visual communication in the School of Journalism and adjunct curator of photography at the MSU Museum, proposed the idea for the two exhibits -- "An Extraordinary Document of Our World" and "Detroit Resurgent" -- and curated them with the help of two students, including a CAS student.

Both exhibits showcase the work of French photographer Gilles Perrin and run from Sunday, Sept. 8, through Jan. 12, 2014, with the opening reception scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 5-7 p.m.

"There is an enormous amount of work and detail that goes into projects like this," Bossen said.

The two students who worked with Bossen are Marisa Hamel, journalism major and Honors College student, and Kathleen McLain, anthropology major and Honors College student.

"They have been involved from top to bottom from transcribing interviews, creating educational materials, working on the press release and selecting final images," Bossen said. "It has been an amazing educational experience."

Portraits of the Motor City, the centerpiece of "Detroit Resurgent," is based upon the MSU Museum's commission of Perrin, at the urging of Bossen, to make a series of portraits over a three-week period in 2012 and have Perrin's wife, Nicole Ewenczyk, record interviews with each subject.

The result: 62 portraits of 64 people in photographs and their own words. The photos show people from all walks of life, ages and ethnicities, from factory workers, union organizers and community activists to business executives, artists and entrepreneurs: these are the people of Detroit; the people who breathe life into the city and help move it forward.

A "Detroit Resurgent" book also is in the works and will be released by the MSU Press in April 2014.

The other exhibit, "An Extraordinary Document of Our World," is a selection of Perrin's black-and-white photographs of workers from around the world, including farmers, foundry workers, fishermen and artisans. The portraits span nearly 25 years of travels.

Perrin worked first as an advertising photographer before turning to documentary photography. Since 1989, he has traveled around the world to make portraits of people in the social documentary tradition.

"My work is to make photographs, and I want to be a witness to the condition of the world. I try to show a reality that matches my vision and my emotions; the work is a conscious construction intended to be far from ordinary photography," said Perrin in an introduction to his work from the Omo Valley in Ethiopia.

Perrin and Ewenczyk will be on campus Sept. 16-19 and will be meeting with several journalism classes.

For more information on the photography exhibits, see the MSU Museum website.

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