Lighting up the life and career associated with respected American photographer Judith Joy Ross

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A new publication encompasses over 200 of Ross’ pensive portraits, presenting a remarkably different yet visually cohesive oeuvre

Judith Joy Ross can be “better described as a photographer of people than a maker of portraits”, observes the artwork historian Svetlana Alpers within the foreword to the American photographer’s latest monograph. The syndication accompanies the largest retrospective of Ross’ work to date, currently showing at Le Bal, Paris, until 18 September 2022.  

Despite her frequently fleeting interactions with her subjects, Ross’ pensive black-and-white images capture them totally. From the subtle cock of the head or raised eyebrow to a slouched shoulder or flexed foot, her photographs are exquisite imprints from the individuals they frame.

As the photographer Paul Graham articulates: “People act like they want to picture rocks and houses plus trees, but what they really want is to have the gumption in order to photograph people the way Judith does. ”

The publication encompasses more than 200 of Ross’ pictures, which span several decades, from 1978 – a couple of years after she had analyzed photography under Aaron Siskind at the Institute of Design in Chicago during the sixties – to 2015.

There are her softly lit portraits of the youthful inhabitants of Eurana Park, Pennsylvania, a place she was drawn to subsequent her father’s death. And her ambitious images framework students in the schools that she and her brothers attended and her mother just before them. Featuring over fifteen series, the book is really a testament to Ross’ remarkably different yet visually cohesive oeuvre.

Judith Joy Ross: Photographs: 1978–2015 is edited by Joshua Chuang and published by Aperture.  

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