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Charles Harbutt’s Departures and Arrivals: The Conversation

Center for Creative Photography Archive photographer Charles Harbutt, subject of the current exhibition, will speak about his work and life in photography with independent curator Trudy Wilner Stack and photographer, editor, and educator, Joan Liftin. The three, colleagues for over thirty years, recently worked together on Harbutt’s retrospective book, Departures and Arrivals, the occasion for and centerpiece of the exhibition on view at CCP. They will discuss their thoughts on photography in the context of Harbutt’s long career as photojournalist, personal documentarian, and teacher. The evening will include a presentation by Harbutt of his most recent project, made in 2013. The Conversation will also consider the nature of photography itself, its practice and its presentation in exhibitions and publications, and the CCP Charles Harbutt Archive, established in 1997 when Wilner Stack was CCP Curator.

Charles Harbutt was a key chronicler of the 1960s and 70s as a photojournalist working mostly through Magnum Photos (where he twice served as president). His work appeared in many magazines in Europe, Japan and the United States. Since 1980, he has pursued a more personal approach to the documentary, moving from the big story concerns of journalism to the realm of the everyday. That transition coincided with his wide influence as an educator. Harbutt has been a guest artist at the Rhode Island School of Design, MIT, the Art Institute of Chicago, and faculty at Cooper Union, Pratt Institute, and Bard College. In 1999, he was appointed an associate professor at Parsons, The New School for Design. His work is widely collected and exhibited by museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, and at the Beaubourg, the Bibliotheque Nationale and the Maison Europeene de la Photographie in Paris. He is represented by the Peter Fetterman Gallery, in Santa Monica, CA. In 1997, his negatives, master prints and archive materials were acquired by the Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona. Major recent solo exhibitions of his work were presented in New York City, and France, Mexico, and Turkey. Included in countless publications, Harbutt’s own books include Departures and Arrivals, Progreso, Charles Harbutt: I Grandi Fotografi and Travelog.

Joan Liftin has been a photo editor and photographer for more than 35 years.  She began as a writer for the United Nations in 1970, later becoming UNICEF’S picture editor and chief photographer.  In 1975, she became Magnum Photo’s Director of the Library.  In l981, she joined with three colleagues to found Archive

Pictures, an international photo agency, and in 1988 became Director of the International Center of Photography’s documentary education program.  She has worked throughout her career as a free-lance photographer, editor, teacher and curator. Her photography can be found in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Addison Gallery of American Art, CCP, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and others. Books of her own photography are Drive-ins and Runaway, and among the many books she picture edited are Falkland Road by Mary Ellen Mark, Magnum’s Paris, My Family & Other Strangers by Naomi Savage, Inheritance by Andrea Stern, and Melting Point by Jeff Jacobson. 

Trudy Wilner Stack is a curator, writer and editor who has organized and consulted on photography, contemporary art, and cultural projects for over 25 years. For a decade she was curator at the Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona, and earlier held curatorial positions at the Birmingham Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, National Museum of American Jewish History, and the City of Philadelphia. Her books include Winogrand 1964, Christenberry: Reconstruction, Art Museum, Sea Change, as well as numerous contributions to other publications. Wilner Stack is the curator of dozens of historical and contemporary exhibitions, with an emphasis on post-1945 American photography. Her work has been supported by a Getty Curatorial Research Fellowship, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lannan Foundation, and many more.