Faces, Mostly Familiar and Most Welcome

Last Saturday I visited the Charles A. Hartman Gallery in Portland. A rather special exhibition was just winding down in this small, relatively-new-to-the-area (I think Hartman is a transplant from San Francisco) gallery. Called “Faces: Vintage and Contemporary Photographic Portraits”, it was a rare opportunity to see such a range of quality and historic photographs not likely to be seen in one place in this neck of the woods.

What greeted me in the window from the street as I approached was a 1967 piece by my once-mentor Ralph Gibson from his book, The Somnambulist. (The book title was incorrectly spelled in the exhibition program, but all is forgiven… but I must admit that I looked at my copy of the book when I went back home.)

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Photo (of Ralph Gibson photo of Mary Ellen Mark)  by Lawrence Hathaway

Once inside, over thirty pieces awaited the viewer from the likes of Diane Arbus, Berenice Abbott (a wonderful 1926 portrait of James Joyce), Adam Clark Vroman, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Wayne Miller, William Klein, Werner Bischof and many more. Names you likely know. There was even a 1903 portrait of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce (his grave is not that far from our neighborhood) by Edward Curtis.

In this interior view of one corner of the space we can see Arnold Newman’s 1954 Picasso, Frederick Sommer, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Andre Kertesz’ 1931 Elizabeth, Harry Callahan, Sally Mann, Emmet Gowin (whom I had almost forgotten about until reminiscing with my wife a few weeks ago), Danny Lyon, Garry Winogrand, an Alfred Stieglitz that I had never seen or recalled seeing (I will have to review my book of Camera Work reprints), Manuel Alvarez Bravo, and Flor Garduno (new to me but very arresting).


Lawrence Hathaway photo

Seeing these photographs was a lot like meeting up with some old friends from my distant past. I will be keeping an eye on the activities of this gallery, for certain.


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