The Voice of Persuasion – The Power of Inspiration
10/15/2016 - 11/5/2016
“The Voice of Persuasion – The Power of Inspiration” celebrates and explores those legendary personas over the past century who have had a decisive role in forming the contemporary world as we know it. Examining the role of inspiring leaders from a variety of spheres including politics, arts, and contemporary culture comes at a suitable moment given the current political atmosphere. Today’s most influential and powerful individuals are commonly represented through video and live-feed, but for many of those from the past who continue to illicit strong feelings for what they have accomplished, single images have often come to define and to symbolize them. Long after their ideas originally came about or their deeds have been done, a legend remains that is often personified by photographs and a photographer’s viewpoint. The eyes become the gatekeepers to other dimensions and the iconic images become a lasting testament to what they embodied, preserving their illustrious personas alongside their purely physical traits. Given this, photographic portraits take on an almost meditative role in examining and celebrating the greatest lives of the past century and lend context to our world today.
Capturing these influential personas through the click of a camera’s shutter has been a complex pursuit only deftly performed by a few photographers. They have also been lucky enough to have the opportunity to be around them at the right time or to have access to them in the first place. Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photo of Winston Churchill waving a “V for victory,” an image that asserts the never-give-up quality that immortalized this leader. Harry Benson’s image of Mohammed Ali practicing his boxing, while we read his famous motto ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’ on the robe sums up the grace and agility of Ali’s legendary stature. Norman Seeff’s portrait of Steve Jobs seated pensively in front of his 1984 SE-30 personal computer that revolutionized personal computers showed an irreverent independent thinker who forever changed the world. All of these pictures, plus others from the show, exemplify the vital role photographers have had in preserving and visualizing history. Reading these portraits more generally, they could further personify the admirable traits of perseverance, determination, and innovation all of which should be celebrated. The included photographers also skillfully create intimate moments that demonstrate their ability to capture palpably stirring portrayals that epitomize the individuality of their subjects.
A well-made photograph goes beyond presenting the mere physical attributes of the sitter. It always gives us further insight into the personality of the subject. Each portrait is united by a reflection on the individuals who have improved or enriched humanity through their creativity, ideas, or their will to fight for a better tomorrow. “The Voice of Persuasion – The Power of Inspiration” aims to remind viewers to celebrate the special lives and reflect on how they have enriched and informed our own.