Los Angeles

“Perfect Likeness: Photography and Composition”

Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
June 20–September 13

Curated by Russell Ferguson

In his seminal 1972 essay “Understanding a Photograph,” John Berger wrote that “composition in the profound, formative sense of the word cannot enter into photography.” Such questions regarding the medium’s essential characteristics, its capabilities, and its “proper task” have been continually contested since its advent nearly two hundred years ago. But as photographic imagery becomes embedded within an ever-proliferating array of visual spaces, the contemporary viewer is even harder pressed to isolate and articulate the photograph’s distinguishing qualities. Ferguson’s exacting and conceptually ambitious exhibition will consider the possibility of rigorous and intentional composition in the work of such prominent contemporary photographers as Stan Douglas, Annette Kelm, Barbara Probst, Jeff Wall, and Christopher Williams. Featuring more than fifty photographs by some two dozen artists, this exhibition promises to explore the narrative repercussions of deliberate formal intervention.