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News Release — August 4, 2008

Little Heroes

Images of children from the Wittliff’s Southwestern & Mexican Photography Collection on view at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
July 31 – October 20, 2008

The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University-San Marcos recently opened their second exhibition of the summer at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA): Little Heroes, images of children from the Southwestern & Mexican Photography Collection. This satellite show, drawn from last year’s popular exhibit at the Wittliff, presents a cross-section of the permanent holdings with children as the central theme.

Vintage prints from the Wittliff’s Russell Lee archives document children during the Great Depression and into the 1940s. More recent images show the strength and importance of the Wittliff’s modern and contemporary Mexican photographs, which is the largest collection of its type in the U.S.

Also represented is internationally acclaimed Beaumont photographer Keith Carter, who learned the art from his mother as she worked making school portraits. Carter’s newest monograph, A Certain Alchemy, will be published this October in the Wittliff’s Southwestern & Mexican Photography Book Series with the University of Texas Press.

In addition to Lee and Carter, ten other renowned photographers are included in this condensed show: Manuel Carrillo, Marco Antonio Cruz, Flor Garduño, Earlie Hudnall, Jr., Eniac Martínez Ulloa, Francisco Mata Rosas, Raúl Ortega, Cathy Spence, Antonio Turok, and Mariana Yampolsky.

Wittliff curator Connie Todd considered hundreds of images in the permanent holdings before creating the original Little Heroes exhibition. She cites a collective visual fascination with children as one reason behind their popularity with photographers and viewers:

Photographers are hunters, searching for truth, amazing revelation, and beauty; and children provide all three at once—honesty, tragedy, unpredictability, and the loveliness of youth. In images of children photographers and viewers search for who we once were and what we have forgotten; we project our hopes and fears for the future onto these endlessly fascinating little figures. Children are our barometers—our fragile extensions into the real world—and we never tire of looking at them and taking their pictures.

The curator’s statement, and all 60-plus images in the original Little Heroes exhibition, can be viewed online.

Little Heroes will be displayed in the ABIA Airside Gallery East through October 20, 2008, and coincides with Treasures from the Wittliff Collections, which is the airport’s current pylon exhibit on view through October 1. Both shows, located along the concourse between gates 7 and 12, are accessible to ticketed passengers who have passed security checkpoints, an audience of thousands per day.

Located on the seventh floor of Texas State’s Alkek Library, the Wittliff Collections are undergoing construction to expand their public and exhibition spaces this summer and fall. For updates, and more about the Wittliff’s literary archives, photographs, exhibits, and events, call (512) 245-2313, or visit our website.