"The Human Face" Photography Exhibit
at MCCC's Gallery Through Dec. 21

10-31--05

The Gallery at Mercer County Community College is hosting “The Human Face,” an exhibition of photographs by artists Helen Stummer, Diane Levell, and the late Lou Draper. The show is being presented, in part, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Edward Steichen’s historic “Family of Man” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, known as the most inspiring photography exhibit ever assembled.

“The Human Face” will be on display from Nov. 7 to Dec. 21, with an opening reception on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The Moses Howard duo will provide live entertainment. The event is free and open to the public.

In conjunction with the show, Gary Saretzky, photographer, archivist, and instructor, will be offering a free slide lecture on Steichen and his ground-breaking exhibit on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at noon in the MCCC Communications Building, Room 110, just below The Gallery on the West Windsor campus of the college.

“Each of these three photographers contributes a complex, compassionate, exquisitely photographed vision of what it is to be human in today’s world,” says Gallery Director and Curator, Tricia Fagan. “Although their personal focuses may vary in content and approach, these artists share a passion and an eye for the difficulties, joys, small moments, and great dignities that comprise our collective human experience.”

Helen Stummer (Metuchen, NJ) has spent the past 30 years using her camera to explore, portray and expose the human face of those among us forced to live in poverty. She has pictorially investigated social justice issues in areas as diverse as the Lower East Side of Manhattan, rural Maine, and Comalapa, Guatemala, but her largest body of work comes from Newark, NJ.

Stummer says, “As a socially concerned documentary photographer in the tradition of Dorothea Lange, Lewis Hine, and Jacob Riis, I try to capture images of the dignity, elegance, and suffering of people who are trying to survive on nothing… Any explanation of what my work is about, what I am doing, or why I am mostly compelled to communicate the struggles of people in despair, is elusive [but] I think that protest against injustice is always at the crux of my work.” She has garnered numerous awards and has exhibited her work widely. Her book, No Easy Walk, released in 1994, continues to win recognition.

Diane Levell (Doylestown, PA) has exhibited her work extensively both in Europe and the United States. Levell holds an MFA from George Washington University and a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Delaware, and has worked as a photographer, photography instructor, and graphic designer. Most of the portraits exhibited in “The Human Face” were taken during the 15 years she and her husband lived in Germany and Turkey. “My main interest has been to capture people engaged in traditional work and daily situations before their societies and cultures change beyond recognition…(I) use historic processes in developing these photographs because it fits with my desire to honor everything useful from the past while dignifying my subjects...”

"Cuba Girl" by Lou Draper
“Sharell in the Mirror” by Helen M. Stummer
"Loving Precious" by Helen M. Stummer

Louis (Lou) Draper, (Trenton area) a well-respected photographer and beloved photography instructor, coordinated MCCC’s photography department from 1982 until his death in 2002. He was one of the founders of the Kamoinge Workshop, a ground breaking NYC-based collective of African American photographers who have been exhibiting and publishing together since 1963. Draper received an MFA from NYU’s Institute for Film and Television. He was an early advocate of the “street photography” aesthetic, capturing many deeply human moments in New York City and the Civil Rights Movement. His empathetic attention to the people in his life and in the world around him continued through his photographs in Moscow and in the New Jersey artist series he pursued to the end of his life. Most of the Draper photographs to be exhibited will be featured in a soon-to-be published catalogue of his work.

The Gallery is located on the college's main campus in West Windsor, at 1200 Old Trenton Road, on the second floor of the Communications Building. Gallery hours are Mondays, 10 a.m. to noon; Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.; Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.; and Fridays, 9 to 11 a.m.

This exhibit is funded, in part, by the Mercer County Cultural & Heritage Commission through a grant from the NJ State Council of the Arts/Dept. of State, and by the Mercer County Board of Freeholders. For further information call 609-586-4800 ext. 3588.

The Gallery at MCCC

Information about the Steichen Lecture

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