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News - New Photo Exhibition at The Wittliff Explores The Human Condition

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RELEASED March 6, 2017

SAN MARCOS, TX – Experience the human condition through the lens of 46 different artists from the Southwest and Mexico. This major photography exhibition showcases The Wittliff Collections’ newest additions, featuring more than 90 images, all on view for the first time. The images on display illustrate the full range and scope of The Wittliff’s impressive photography collection.

The exhibition opens with a trio of portraits by Wyatt McSpadden including his 2004 portrait of Beyoncé. Each wall of photographs in the main gallery are grouped together by a common theme, such as children, cowboy culture, celebrity, family, and nature.

Documentary photographs that explore everyday life and the human condition are revealed in images from Graciela Iturbide, Keith Dannemiller, Marcela Taboada, Ivonne Hop, Rodrigo Moya, Alicia Ahumada and Elsa Medina. Photographs by Miguel Gandert, Stephanie Duprie Routh, Al Rendon, and Delilah Montoya highlight the influence of the Virgin of Guadalupe in both Mexico and Southwestern culture. Youth and children are captured in images by Kenny Braun, Dennis Darling, Faustinus Deraet, Keith Carter, Judith Golden, Carlos Jurado and others.

A trio of Eric O’Connell’s documentary photographs taken on September 11, 2001 in New York are on display and stand as a powerful visual document of that tragic day. 

Candid and traditional portraits of famous and anonymous people are on view throughout the exhibit in works by Michael Nye, Caleb Jagger, Arthur Tress, J.B. Colson, Michael O’Brien, John Lewis, Liz Moskowitz, Rocky Schenck and Will van Overbeek, to name a few. Works of note include Eric O’Connell’s Peter, from his East German Cowboy series, and Al Rendon’s 1993 portrait of Selena, a photograph that is also held in the National Portrait Gallery.

These photographs were created with a variety of photographic and printing techniques, including gelatin silver, photogravure, color postcards, pinhole, chromogenic and archival pigment prints. Cowgirl Salute by Bob Wade is a photowork on linen with layers of airbrushed paint and Bill’s Gannett is a stunning orotone by Kate Breakey.

Nature images, that reveal the landscape and animals of the Southwest and Mexico, by David Johndrow, Jackie Mathey, Byron Brauchli, and Bill Wittliff are also on view.

Singular postcards from the Acapulco, Guerrero Collection and the Mexican Border Town Collection, both donated by Susan Toomey Frost, are on view.

The exhibition was curated by Carla Ellard, photo-archivist for the Southwestern & Mexican Photography Collection.

At First Sight runs through June 25, 2017. 

The Wittliff Collections are located on the seventh floor of Texas State’s Alkek Library in San Marcos, between Austin and San Antonio. Exhibition hours, directions, parking information are online. For questions, call 512.245.2313 (press 0).


The Wittliff Collections are dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing the cultural legacy of the Southwest’s literary, photographic and musical arts, and to fostering the region’s “Spirit of Place” in the wider world. The Wittliff hosts readings, artist talks, lectures, and other events; presents major exhibitions year-round from its holdings; and makes its collections available to statewide, national, and international researchers.

Visitors, tours, and classes are welcome. Admission is free.


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