Do Savannnah

‘Watershed’ showcases Telfair’s photography collection with an environmental edge

  • Untitled (Road and farmland), 1976; William Eggleston (American, b. 1939); dye transfer print; 22 x 28.5” (framed); collection of the Eggleston Artist Trust and Rose Gallery
  • Howl, 2007; Amy Stein (American, b. 1970); chromogenic print; 24 x 30 inches; 35 ¾ x 40 ¾ x 1 3/8 inches framed; collection of the Nevada Museum of Art, The Altered Landscape, Carol Franc Buck Collection

‘Watershed’ showcases Telfair’s photography collection with an environmental edge

12 Oct 2016

As part of Telfair’s ongoing pursuit to share more of its permanent collection with the viewing public, an exciting new photography exhibition will run from Oct. 21 through Jan. 29. An opening lecture by assistant curator Erin Dunn set for Oct. 13 will be rescheduled because of Hurricane Matthew.

All three Telfair sites were shut down in the storm’s aftermath. The Jepson Center will open at noon Oct. 16 with a community day featuring free admission. The public can come enjoy the current exhibits, Artzeum for kids and a drop-in studio for all ages. The Telfair Academy and Owens-Thomas House will open at noon Oct. 17.

“Watershed: Contemporary Landscape Photography” grew out of a group of landscape images taken in the 1990s that were given as a gift to Telfair in 2013. The photos of landscapes marred by human encroachment sparked Dunn’s imagination and served as the basis for the show.

“I was thinking of Rachel Carson a lot when I was putting together this exhibition,” Dunn says. “In her book ‘Silent Spring,’ I think one of the major messages was that, before we attempt to solve a problem quickly, we should take the time to figure out how the world will be affected on a larger scale ... I feel like these works are the artists’ way of saying, ‘Why don’t we slow down a minute and have an introspective moment looking at these environments that we inhabit?’”

In keeping with that line of thought, the landscapes in “Watershed” aren’t the traditional bucolic scenes associated with Ansel Adams-type photos. The photographs here reveal the many-faceted contours of a human-stained landscape and can be strangely and mysteriously beautiful. Environmentalism is definitely a strong theme throughout the show, though not heavy-handed by any measure.

In addition to locally famous and accomplished photographers like Meryl Truett and Jack Leigh, the show also includes work from the likes of Sally Mann, Gregory Crewdson, Amy Stein, Richard Misrach, William Eggleston, Edward Burtynsky, Lisa Robinson, Dan Graham, Gabriel Orozco, Stan Douglas and many others.

Accompanying the exhibition is an exceptionally well-researched gallery guide put together by Dunn detailing the genesis of the show that includes in-depth information about the photographs. The guide will be free to the public and Dunn will have a chance to present it along with the lecture she has planned. The Telfair will likely reschedule the lecture for the week after the opening.

“It’s really a chance for me to reveal all of the research and time and effort that I’ve put into this exhibition,” Dunn says. “Which I think will be demonstrated when people see and read about the show ... It’s really exciting and I’m really proud of this exhibition.”

“Once again, it’s a great chance for us to get some photographs out from our permanent collection. We’re very proud of our photography collection and we’d like to keep growing it and showing it.”



What: “Watershed: Contemporary Landscape Photography”

When: Oct. 21-Jan. 29; opening lecture and reception will be rescheduled

Where: Jepson Center, 207 W. York St.

Cost: Varies