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Photographer Explores Sacred Spaces, International Subjects

Opening on March 27, 2009, Odyssey: The Photographs of Linda Connor captures the exceptional images of a world traveler. Three events, including a presentation by the artist on March 27, accompany
the exhibition, which runs through June 21, 2009.

Connor embraces a wide range of subject matter. Connecting the physical and the spritual world, she has worked extensively in India, Indonesia, Turkey, Cambodia, Egypt, Tibet, and the American Southwest. Included in the exhibition are some of her best known images from the past three decades, along with new works that have never been exhibited publicly.

After studying with American photographers Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind—whose archives are held at the Center for Creative Photography—Connor went on to a distinguished teaching career at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she has taught undergraduate and graduate students since 1969.

“Connor strives to reveal the essence of her subjects. To create photographs that feel timeless and to describe the intangible visually, she uses a technique as distinctive as her images,” said Becky Senf, Norton Assistant Curator at the Center for Creative Photography. A large-format view camera allows Connor to achieve remarkable clarity and rich detail. Frequently using long exposures, Connor captures movement and suggests the passage of time. Her prints are created by direct contact of the 8x10-inch negative on printing-out paper, exposed and developed in her garden using sunlight. Toned with gold chloride, the prints have a warmth, luminosity, and delicacy seldom found in standard photographic printing.

Recently, Connor has begun printing certain key images at a much larger scale, using digital scans and inkjet printing. In this exhibition, a group of these new prints make their museum debut. “New technology allows us to appreciate the potential of traditional processes,” Center director and chief curator Britt Salvesen explains. “We can really feel the detail and nuance captured in the original negative.”

Although Connor’s work has been widely exhibited and published, Odyssey provides a new way to view it. The 8x10 prints are presented in artist-composed sequences reflecting her unique approach. The artist first selected the works and then was closely involved in their presentation, including framing, sequencing, and wall color. She also chose to present minimal explanatory text. This encourages the viewer to see the prints as a collection of views, allowing gallery visitors to fall into the photographic Odyssey, which is neither chronological or geographical. The sequences dislodge any sense of linear time, concrete place, or illustrative documentation. Each person will bring something new to the photographs and will take away their own meanings.

Opening Reception and Artist’s Talk
Connor will discuss her work in a talk that is also the keynote for UA’s Arizona Art History Graduate Student Association’s 20th annual symposium, “Paradise and the Imperfect Present.”
Friday, March 27
Reception at 5 p.m., lecture at 6 p.m.

Gallery Walk
Catherine Marino, a graduate student in Art and Visual Culture Education at UA and the Center’s 2009 Ansel Adams intern, will discuss Connor’s photographs in the context of other women photographers who work in alternative processes, as seen in the exhibition co-curated by Marino on view in the Center’s Permanent Collection Gallery.
Sunday, April 5, 2 p.m.

Reception and Lecture
The Art of Food, the Art of Life
A culinary journey with renowned food writers Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford will take us to out-of-the way places in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Alford and Duguid have authored six award-winning cookbooks that include Hot Sour Salty Sweet; Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels in the Great Subcontinent; and Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China.
Thursday, April 23
Indian food and drinks at 5 p.m., lecture at 6 p.m.

Odyssey: The Photographs of Linda Connor (Chronicle Books, 2008) was published to accompany the exhibition and includes a discussion among Connor, Emmet Gowin, and Robert Adams.

The exhibition tour is organized by Hal Fischer Associates.

Release date: 
Thursday, January 1, 2009