new-york

“Faces Photographed: Contemporary Camera Images”

Grey Art Gallery

Most of the photographs here are portraits of one sort or another, but despite the show’s title, few have all that much to do with faces. Instead most of them employ—but do not confront—various forms of stylization, both photographic and personal, and the fictive personas created by photographers and their subjects for fashion and magazine illustration. The sitters here are mainly celebrities, models, people with exotic, “interesting” faces—but the photographs are seldom just of faces. Few tasks in photography are as difficult as to photograph a person’s face and reveal something surprising and true about the subject. The photographer risks having the face become simply a kind of fingerprint, a unique collection of fleshy knobs and swales, with the photograph a topographical map of the terrain. Photographers often turn to a variety of devices—lighting, cropping, lens selection—to inflect

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