Past exhibition

Ted Partin
Eyes Look Through You
Haus Esters

Opening: Sunday, 13 June 2010, 11.30 a.m., Museum Haus Esters

The Kunstmuseen Krefeld are presenting about 50 photographs in Ted Partin’s first museum exhibition. The overwhelming numbers are black and white photographs dating from 2003 to 2009. Ted Partin has chosen them specially for the galleries and related them to each other in series. The exhibition is also showing colour photographs for the first time; Partin has been working on these since late 2009. Ted Partin’s photographic work focuses on a young American generation that has detached itself from its social origins and position simply by asserting its individuality to the world. His photographs, produced by an elaborate analogue process, occupy the indeterminate space between documentary and posed photography, thus triggering a chain of conflicting emotional experiences in viewers.

The title of the exhibition, Eyes Look Through You, is an apposite description of the effect Ted Partin’s photographs have on viewers. The different young people that Partin captures in domestic atmospheres, on city streets, in the car or in the open air are usually looking at us steadfastly and frankly. The way they look at us constantly puts us under their spell, and yet we, the viewers, do not seem to be the only subject to this momentary attention. In fact, the individuals are clearly occupied with themselves as well, even though they are looking directly at the lens while the shot is being taken. Thus viewers become both confidants and voyeurs.
The starting-point for this strange atmosphere in the photographs is in the traditional approach that Ted Partin uses, and is diametrically opposed to the rapidity of today’s digital image transfer: Partin works with a 8 x 10 inch Deardorff camera, a plate camera whose technology is reminiscent of 19th century technical processes. Setting up this camera and preparing it for an exposure takes a considerable amount of time. During this phase the photographer, the camera and the subject, the human being, adjust themselves to each other, each becoming aware of the other’s perception. The elaborate photographic process also triggers self-observation in the subject, and this also becomes part of the picture. So in Ted Partin’s photographs people always present themselves in a kind of natural pose, an attitude in which a private and a public, an intimate and a distanced element are mixed.

Ted Partin, who was born in Tarrytown, New York in 1977 and lives in New York City, studied under the famous “street photographer” Ted Papageorge, and under Gregory Crewdson; the Kunstmuseen presented Crewdson’s photographs inspired by film productions in 2006.

Catalogue: 24 Euro
(with essays by Klaus Honnef, Jeffrey Ladd and Ted Partin interviewed by Sylvia Martin, German/English, 120 pages, Hirmer Verlag Munich)