Toy stories

By GREG COOK  |  May 28, 2008

EXPOSURE,” the 13th annual juried exhibit at the Photographic Resource Center (832 Comm Ave, Boston), is up through July 2, and like the Artadia show, it’s an opportunity for a quick overview of the local scene via 14 photographers mainly from around Boston and Providence. It’s dominated by deadpan-style photos — usually emotionally flat, posed, head-on or profile portraits, or architectural shots. Photographers seem depressed these days (maybe it’s the meds), and emotionally numb. The deadpan look is driven by the use of medium- and large-format cameras, which offer large, seductive, detail-vacuuming negatives but are awkward to carry and operate.

What sticks with me is New Yorker Benjamin Lowy’s shots from Iraq — a tank, a soldier running for help, a watch tower rising above tall grass, and Iraqi civilians as framed in the thick bulletproof portholes of patrolling Army Humvees. “Walking on the streets to photograph,” he writes, “is tantamount to suicidal behavior.” Lowy’s distance and detachment embody our own emotional and physical distance from what’s going on.

“Naoki Honjo: Small Planet” and “Abelardo Morell: Pictures in Pictures,” Bernard Toale Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave., Boston, May 14 to June 28, 2008 | “Hello my name is Pixnit,” Judy Rotenberg Gallery, 130 Newbury St., Boston, May 3 to June 1, 2008 | “Parti Wall, Hanging Green,” Pinkcomma Gallery, 81B Wareham St., Boston, May 16 to June 6, 2008 | “Artadia Boston 2007,” Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St., Boston, April 18 to June 15, 2008 | “Exposure: The 13th Annual PRC Juried Exhibition,” Photographic Resource Center, 832 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, May 23 to July 2, 2008

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