[from "Ladies and Gentlemen"]
© Shane Lavalette
From November 2nd through the 29th, 2009, my found photo project Ladies and Gentlemen will be displayed in the photography cases of the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts at Harvard University (curated by VES faculty Chris Killip).
From the Carpenter Center’s website:
“Ladies and Gentlemen” consists of a selection of found studio portrait cards – 12 women and 12 men, each measuring approximately 4.5 x 6.5 in. – as collected by photographer Shane Lavalette. The cards were produced in the late 19th Century by various photographic studios around New England, many in Vermont where Lavalette is originally from. The images often depict subjects gazing out of the frame, frozen and lost in thought. Brought together, the photographs ask us to consider the personalities and roles of these individuals as well the blurred line of femininity/masculinity that exists on their surface.
In his text titled Out of the Ordinary, Martin Parr puts forward a case for taking more seriously such everyday objects: “Spend some time looking,” he begs, “…At their design, their shape, their individual characteristics. Think ahead and imagine their significance…” It seems that Lavalette, too, understands the notion of taking these objects more seriously and believes in the potential (and indeed pleasure) of viewing them in splendid isolation.