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Annenberg Space for Photography presents “Identity”

THE CRITICAL EYE by Phil Tarley

Annenberg Space for Photography presents “Identity”: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders the List Portraits from September 24, 2016 – February 26, 2017.

This is the first complete exhibition of The List Series portraits and the debut of The Trans List, Intimate Portraits of Transgender Pioneers at the Annenberg’s photography space in Century City. Timed to promote HBO’s December 5 release of Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ Transgender documentary, the exhibition brings together all of the 151 photographs in Greenfield–Sanders’ THE LIST PORTRAITS. This giant body of work strives to be a revelatory photographic survey of marginalized but heroic groups of American minorities, some of them quite famous. The exhibition spotlights the debut of The Trans List, 40 photographs of members of the transgender community, which accompanies the Timothy Greenfield-Sander‘s directed, HBO documentary.

PENELOPE GHARTEY (left) IAN HARVIE (right)

The List project began over 10 years ago with Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. “I was shooting her portrait for Margaret Garner, an opera for which she had written the libretto,” said Greenfield-Sanders. “During lunch we discussed the extraordinary number of black divas who auditioned for the production. ‘Timothy,’ she said, ‘You should shoot portraits of black divas for a book. I’ll write the text.’”

DR. RENÉE RICHARDS (left) JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND (right)

Wallis Annenberg is quite passionate about her space’s current exhibition. “A great portrait does so much more than merely capture its subject,” said Wallis Annenberg, Chairman, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation. “It gives us a glimpse into the subject’s humanity, sometimes even a window into the soul. That’s what Timothy Greenfield-Sanders achieves through his extraordinary photographic eye, and I’m delighted that he has turned his lens …toward the trans community with The Trans List. These stirring and engaging portraits explore the very notion of what separates us and what unites us—how gender and sexuality shape us and define us as people.”

JANET MOCK (left) CHRIS MOSIER (right)

Greenfield-Sanders is known for his intimate portraits of world leaders and major cultural figures. From presidents to porn stars, artists to Oscar winners, Greenfield-Sanders’ work defines a certain cultural photographic canon of our time.

ANDREJA PEJIC (left) ANGELICA ROSS (right)

The most innovative and thrilling component of the Annenberg show was a Virtual Reality presentation of a Greenfield-Sanders studio photo shoot. A group of VR stations allow exhibition attendees to perceive the photographer at work in Virtual Reality. Created by stitching together 10 different video files with a VR spherical program, the experience evokes a 360 degree and up and down reality that works every way one can possibly turn one’s head. When I put on the VR headset, visual greed overcame me and I almost got whiplash from trying to see it all. The VR feed incarnated assistants behind the camera, stylists and makeup artists on the sidelines, a skylight above and a floorscape below. Virtually anywhere I moved my head provided what seemed to be real, live, vantage points. It is a remarkable presentation. For more information visit: annenbergphotospace.org

The exhibition’s Virtual Reality station

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Phil Tarley

About Phil Tarley

Phil Tarley is a fellow of the American Film Institute, an artist member of the Los Angeles Art Association and writes about contemporary art, pop culture and photography for Fabrik Magazine. He curates at the A C Gallery in Los Angeles and founded Round Hole Square Peg, a biannual, international survey of LGBTQ photography shown at the Photo LA. Tarley is also a critical essayist for Katharine T. Carter & Associates, an art advisory service that  helps artists obtain museum exhibitions. His personal series of political and ethnographic videos is housed in the permanent collection of the New York Public Library and has screened in film festivals and museums like the American Film Institute,and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In 2009, under his nom de porn, Phil St. John, Tarley was inducted into the Gay Porn Hall of Fame for his 20-year producing and directing career. His writing and photography have also appeared in the LA Times, the LA Weekly, The WOW Report, Adventure Journal, the Advocate, Frontiers, Adult Video News, Genre, Instinct and American Photo Magazine. His book, Going down On Cuba: Notes from An Underground Traveler,  is slated to be published later in the year by Fabrik Press.  

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