Best Photo Picks February 2020

Featured / What Makes It Great? / February 5, 2020

By Elin Spring and Suzanne Révy

There are many ways to beat the winter blues and, for us, art works wonders. We bring you our selection of the most engaging photography shows and events around Boston and beyond in the upcoming month, listed geographically for your convenience.


SOWA – Boston’s Gallery District in the South End

John Coplans, Stepped Foot, Three Panels, 1989, 7 x 12 in. © John Coplans Trust (courtesy of Howard Yezerski Gallery).

Howard Yezerski Gallery – John Coplans: Self-Portrait Polaroids features seminal work made between 1984-2002 that confronts issues of identity and aging in a singular and unforgettable manner. On view through February 18th, 2020, there will be a Reception on First Friday, February 7th, 2020 from 5:00 – 8:00pm. For more information, go to:

“Coral Peonies, Northumberland Strait, 2017” from the series Inside Outside by Vaughn Sills (courtesy of the artist and Kingston Gallery).

Kingston Gallery – A mid-winter reminder of the earth’s botanical splendor, Vaughn Sills’ solo show Inside Outside contrasts the eternal wildness of the natural world – in the background images of her native Prince Edward Island – with fleeting mortality symbolized in luscious, cultivated floral arrangements. Sills’ surreal whispers allude to a world threatening to spin out of ecological balance. On view through March 1st, 2020, there will be an Opening Reception on First Friday, February 7th, 2020 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. There will be an Artist’s Talk (and cupcakes) on Saturday, February 29th, 2020 starting at 3:30pm. For more information, go to:

“Sniffers” by Jim Lustenader (courtesy of the artist and Griffin Museum of Photography).

Griffin Museum at SOWA – Veteran street photographer Jim Lustenader’s solo show City Streets combines the timeless satisfaction of B&W film photography with his empathetic blend of visual tension and serendipitous delight. On view through March 24th, 2020, the gallery will be open to the public on First Friday, February 7th, 2020.  For more information, go to:


FORT POINT – Boston’s Artist Enclave

“Citizens of the World 4” by Steven Duede (courtesy of the artist).

FP3 Gallery – Steven Duede: Selected Works features vibrant, large-scale photographs from three distinct projects: Evanescence, Home is where…, and most recently, Citizens of the World (above), in which he gathers collections of flora at various stages of demise into unified, spherical worlds formed by unique, ephemeral individuals. On view through April 10th, 2020.

For more information, go to:



Elsa Dorfman, Me and My Camera, 1986. Dye diffusion photograph (Polaroid print). Gift of Elsa Dorfman in Honor of Harvey A. Silverglate. © Elsa Dorfman, 2013, all rights reserved (courtesy of MFA, Boston).

MFA, Boston – Elsa Dorfman: Me and My Camera highlights a selection of 20″x 24″ Polaroid self-portraits by the famed Cambridge portrait photographer, as well as a group of smaller B&W images from her landmark 1974 photobook Elsa’s Housebook: A Woman’s Photojournal. This autobiographical chronicle of Dorfman’s ebullient, fascinating life will be on view from February 8th – June 21st, 2020. For more information about the exhibit and associated programming, go to:

Untitled, from the “Home” series by Gohar Dashti (Iranian, born in 1980), 2017 photograph, inkjet print, © Gohar Dashti, Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Also at MFA, Boston –  Reimagining Home: Photographs by Bahman Jalali and Gohar Dashti compares the work of Iranian pioneer Jalali (1944-2010) and his student, contemporary photographer Gohar Dashti, illuminating the ways in which they combine documentary and imaginary elements in their distinctive photography to explore common themes of belonging, displacement, cultural history and memory. On view through July 12th, 2020.

To read our review, go to:

For more information, go to:

“Fisherman’s Castle, Irish Bayou, Louisiana, USA, 2014” by Magda Biernat (courtesy of the artist and Robert Klein Gallery).

Robert Klein Gallery – Magda Biernat broadens the US-centric view of “America” with The Edge of Knowing, her year-long exploration of the Americas that transcends national boundaries, from Antarctica to the Arctic. Signed copies of Biernat’s book (Kehrer Verlag, 2019) are also available at the gallery, with her work on view through February 28th, 2020.

To read our review, go to:

For more information, go to:


From the series Vertical Horizon by Ralph Gibson (courtesy of the artist and Leica Gallery Boston).

Leica Gallery Boston – A retrospective of renowned photographer Ralph Gibson’s high impact color and B&W imagery, Selected Works: 1966-2016. will be on view through March 1st, 2020. For more information, go to:

Cheryle St. Onge, “Untitled,” from the series “Calling the Birds Home,” archival pigment print, edition of 5, courtesy of the artist.

Panopticon Gallery – In Homeward Bound, nine photographers explore the longing for belonging, guest curated by Suzanne Révy and Elin Spring (yes, that’s us!). Bob Avakian, Ron Cowie, Brian Kaplan, Molly Lamb, Alysia Macaulay, Sarah Malakoff, Astrid Reischwitz, Suzanne Révy and Cheryle St. Onge (above) exhibit several works each in a dialog on the yearning for a place we can call home. Last chance, extended through February 14th, 2020!

For a complete view, go to:

For directions and more information, go to:



“Ntozakhe II, Parktown, 2016” ©Zanele Muholi (courtesy of the artist, Cooper Gallery at Harvard and Yancey Richardson Gallery, NY).

Cooper Gallery at Harvard University, Cambridge – In Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail the Dark Lionness, South African activist photographer Zanele Muholi explores race, representation and identity politics in over 80 self-portraits laced with urgency, solemnity and sometimes biting sarcasm.

To read our review, go to:

On view through June 1st, 2020, for information, go to:

From the PRC exhibit Present Histories Redefined, Left to Right: details of self portraits by Joanna Tam, Feda Eid, and Jonathan Mark Jackson
(courtesy of the artists).

Photographic Resource Center (PRC), VanDernoot Gallery at Lesley University, Cambridge – Hong Kong-born Joanna Tam, Lebanese-American Feda Eid, and African-American Jonathan Mark Jackson explore personal and societal identities of those marginalized by racial and cultural tensions in Present Histories Redefined, curated by Jessica Burko, PRC Program Manager. On view through March 27th, 2020, there will be an Opening Reception with the artists on Thursday, February 6th, 2020 from 6:00 – 8:00pm.

The PRC will host a panel discussion with the artists, moderated by Christine Mok, Assistant Professor of English, University of Rhode Island on Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 from 3:00 – 5:00pm.

For directions, hours and information about the exhibit and associated programming, go to:

“Untitled (Central Square), 2019” by Karl Baden (courtesy of the artist and Howard Yezerski Gallery).

Gallery 344 (Cambridge Arts in the City Hall Annex) – Mass Ave, Cambridge features Karl Baden’s delightfully layered street photographs of Cambridge’s distinctive neighborhoods from the Charles River to the Arlington border in a rich and diverse photographic portrait of the City. The exhibit includes accounts of Baden’s experience in executing the project and a freely accessible digital photo archive. Last chance, on view through February 14th, 2020!

For information, go to:

Guy Bourdin, “Charles Jourdan, 1978” C-Print on Fujiflex paper (Courtesy The Guy Bourdin Estate/ Louise Alexander Gallery).

The MIT Museum, Cambridge – After traveling around the world, the critically acclaimed exhibit The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology opened at the MIT Museum on October 11th, 2019, approximately a block from where instant film was first invented. Exploring the art-technology relationship through the exhibition of both art and artifacts, the show includes work by a veritable hit parade of Polaroid photographers, from André Kertész to Andy Warhol. Last chance, Part I of this exhibit will be on view through February 23rd, 2020!

To read our review, go to:

For more information about the exhibit and its terrific associated programming, go to:

Photograph © Keith Ellenbogen (courtesy of the artist).

Bridge Gallery, Cambridge – Deep: The Underwater Photographs of Keith Ellenbogen features sensitive and spectacular images of the environmental conditions of marine life by the Assistant Professor at SUNY/FIT and current Artist-in-Residence at MIT’s Sea Grant. On view through February 29th, 2020, for more information, go to:

“Milk” © Lindley Warren Mickunas (courtesy of the artist and Aviary Gallery).

Aviary Gallery, Jamaica Plain –  Curated by Dylan Hausthor, Knotweed group exhibition features photographs that “blend truth and lies, fictions and experience” by 14 area artists. On view during February and March, 2020, there will be an Opening Reception on Thursday, February 13th, 2020 from 6:00 – 9:00pm. For more information, go to:



“Untitled (In the Woods)” from The Disappearance of Joseph Plummer by Amani Willett (courtesy of the artist and Griffin Museum of Photography).

Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester – Four diverse solo exhibitions explore “a haunting and surreal sense of place and history, emphasizing the strangeness of the worlds that we create, populate, and then leave behind” (Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photographs, New Orleans Museum of Art): Amani Willett’s The Disappearance of Joseph Plummer (above) and Jon Horvath’s This is Bliss in the Main Gallery, Barbara Diener’s Phantom Power in the Griffin Gallery, and Walker Pickering’s Nearly West in the Griffin Atelier Gallery, on view through March 1st, 2020.

To read our review, go to:

For more information, go to:

Liz Albert “Pursuits” from “Family Fictions” courtesy of the artist and the Danforth.

Danforth Art Museum at Framingham State University – Liz Albert’s vernacular photo pairings subvert other people’s snapshots into mysterious, fun and sometimes nefarious narratives in her solo show Family Fictions, on view through April 5th, 2020. Family Circle is a multi-media exhibit featuring work by seven artists including photographers Claudia Ruiz-Gustafson, Lee Kilpatrick and Kristen Joy Emack, on view through May 10th, 2020.

To read our review, go to:

For more information, go to:

Gordon Parks, Washington, D.C. Government charwoman, July 1942. Gelatin silver print mounted to board, 11 7/16 x 9 7/16 inches. Prints and Photographs Division, L.O.C., Washington, D.C. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Photograph (courtesy of Addison Gallery of American Art).

Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover – Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940-1950 is a traveling exhibit originated at the National Gallery of Art that focuses on the formative first decade of Parks’s 60-year career, bringing together 150 photographs and ephemera—including magazines, books, letters, and family pictures. On view through April 26th, 2020, for more information, go to:

Aaron Siskind, “Volcano 114” gelatin silver print, gift of Thomas and Margaret Beling, courtesy of the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.

DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln – Photosynthesis encompasses a suite of three interrelated photography exhibits that consider diverse subjects – from botanical design to news reportage – in light of current ideas about truth in imagery. Truthiness and the NewsAll the Marvelous Surfaces: Photography Since Karl Blossfeldt and Peter Hutchinson: Landscapes of My Life will be on view through March 29th, 2020.

To read our review of All The Marvelous Surfaces, go to:

To read our review of Truthiness and the News, go to:

For more information, go to:

The Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley – Going Viral features 123 “found” pictures mined from the Peter J. Cohen Collection gift of nearly 1,000 anonymous snapshots, organized into eleven sections that explore various performances, rituals, and gestures that have gone viral via photography. On view from February 6th – June 7th, 2020. To learn about the free “Handmade Photography Today Symposium” on Saturday, March 7th, 2020 from 11:00am – 5:00pm, go to:

For more information about this exhibit, go to:

From the series Something To Live For by Michael Hintlian (courtesy of the artist and NESOP).

Garner Center at New England School of Photography (NESOP), Waltham – Veteran street photographer Michael Hintlian blends photographic tradition with contemporary times in his full-frame, analog prints capturing the pulse of life in today’s America in his solo exhibit Something To Live For (above and Feature Image). On view through February 28th, 2020.

To read our review, go to:

For more information, go to:

Marblehead Portrait Project 1990-1995. All photographs taken with Type 55 Polaroid material. Original negatives destroyed in studio fire in 2003. Image files and prints produced from Kodak photo CD (1995) made from 35mm slides of original 20×24 silver prints ©Rick Ashley (courtesy of the artist).

Marblehead Museum, Marblehead – Famously the “Birthplace of the American Navy,” quaint coastal Marblehead is steeped in history that its townspeople celebrate with gusto and charm at every opportunity. It is no wonder then, that celebrated resident photographer Rick Ashley and the 2003 “Fire of Historic Proportions” (Marblehead Reporter) that brought down his studio along with beloved “Tony’s Pizza” is the Museum’s current focus in its “Marblehead Memories Project.” Salvaged from the devastating fire are a wonderful wall of Ashley’s reclaimed 20″ x 24″ Polaroids capturing the town’s quirky character through a full range of its citizens. If you knew nothing else about Marblehead, Ashley’s portraits would be a genuine guidebook. Another wall is devoted to the 35mm street photographs made at town events with the melted Leica displayed nearby, as are other photographs and ephemera that are cause for wonderment and delight. On view through April 30th, 2020, there will be an Opening Reception with the artist TOMORROW Thursday, February 6th, 2020 from 6:00 – 8:00pm. For more information, go to:

Photographs by Tira Khan (Left) and Suzanne Révy (Right) in the exhibit On Growing Up (images courtesy of the artists).

Bedford Free Public Library, Bedford – Curated by photographer Astrid Reischwitz, On Growing Up features imagery by Boston-based photographers Tira Khan, who chronicled her daughters, and Suzanne Révy, who followed the parallel growth of her sons. Their intimate access offers unique perspectives on balancing individuality, the eternal challenges of growing up, and issues particular to those coming of age in America today. On view through March 11th, 2020, there will be a Gallery Talk with the artists and Reception on Sunday, February 9th, 2020 from 4:00 – 5:00pm. For more information, go to:



Jo Sandman, Light Memory #2, 2006, sepia-toned silver gelatin print, 16” x 20”. Gift of the artist, 2019.87.2. (courtesy of the artist and Fitchburg Art Museum).

Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA – Experimental artist Jo Sandman has employed antique nineteenth-century photographic processes alongside contemporary medical and digital imaging techniques in photographs exploring the human figure, mortality, and the tensions between the material and the spiritual. Her solo, three decade retrospective Jo Sandman: The Photographic Work celebrates the museum’s acquisition of over 70 photographs by Sandman, the largest collection of the artist’s photography internationally and relates to themes explored in FAM’s concurrent exhibition, After Spiritualism: Loss and Transcendence in Contemporary Art. On view from February 8th – June 7th, 2020, for more information, go to:

Andy Warhol, Mao Tse-Tung, 1972, color screenprint, National Endowment for the Arts Museum Purchase Plan, 1977.91.
© 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA – Organized primarily from the Museum’s permanent collection, Photo Revolution: Andy Warhol to Cindy Sherman “assesses the trajectory of contemporary art through a comparison of traditional media, such as painting, prints, and sculpture, with photography and emerging photo-based art.” Last Chance, on view through February 16th, 2020!

To read our review of this exhibit, go to:

To read our Curator’s Viewpoint interview with Nancy Kathryn Burns, go to:

For more information, go to:

Images, clockwise from top left: For Freedoms (Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur in collaboration with Eric Gottesman and Wyatt Gallery of For Freedoms), Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear and Freedom from Want, 2018. Museum Purchase: Currier Museum of Art.

Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH – Founded by artists Eric Gottesman and Hank Willis Thomas, We Are For Freedoms comprises a highly participatory exhibition inspired by Norman Rockwell’s 1943 paintings of the four universal freedoms articulated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Coinciding with the lead-up to New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, the exhibition and associated activities explore how art can spur discussions about values, place, and patriotism. On view through March 1st, 2020. for information about the exhibit and extensive programming, go to:

To read our review in ArchitectureBoston magazine, go to:

Keliy Anderson-Staley, Shelter in Place as installed at SITE Gallery, Silos at Sawyer Yards, Houston, TX, 2018. Wet-plate collodion tintypes, wood, and metal, 120 x 96 x 96 in. Courtesy of the artist and Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago.

Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, VT – Time Lapse: Contemporary Analog Photography showcases work made with a variety of 19th-century photographic processes, such as daguerreotypes, cyanotypes and photograms. Thirteen national and international artists, including Keliy Anderson-Staley (above), Adam Fuss, Sally Mann and David Emitt Adams contribute to a hit parade of photographers using alternative methods, on view through March 8th, 2020.  For more information, go to:

Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts (RICPA), Providence, R.I. – A group exhibition, The Director’s Choice features work by the artists who have crafted the RICPA exhibitions mounted in 2019 and the ones to come in 2020, including Marky Kauffmann, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Stephen Fisher, Aline Smithson, Michael Itkoff, John Reuter, Yorgos Efthymiadis, Neal Rantoul, Mick Cochran and introducing partners for 2020, J. Sybylla Smith, Jesse Burke, Ann M. Jastrab and more. Last chance, on view through February 14th, 2020! Coming soon, the heart goes nine group exhibition curated by J. Sybylla Smith, will be on view from February 20th – March 13th, 2020, with an Opening Reception on Thursday, February 20th, 2020 from 5:00 – 9:00pm. For more information, go to:



Newport Art Museum in Newport, R.I.

Newport Art Museum, Newport, R.I. – “The Newport artist residency, AiR/Newport is designed to encourage the creative, intellectual, and personal growth of emerging and established visual artists and designers by giving them the time, space, and solitude needed to create, apart from the daily demands of production and deadline.” The application deadline is February 15, 2020 for our first artist residency, which will be the month of June, 2020. For more information, go to:


Feature Image: From the series Something To Live For by Michael Hintlian (courtesy of the artist and NESOP).

Elin Spring

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1 Comment

on February 5, 2020

Extraordinary the number of photo exhibitions in the greater Boston area and extraordinary that you manage to review or list them all. Great job!

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