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High Museum of Art : Truth Told Slant


In its upcoming exhibition “Truth Told Slant”, the High Museum of Art will present the work of Rose Marie Cromwell, Jill Frank, Tommy Kha, Zora J Murff and Kristine Potter, five emerging photographers who take dynamic and innovative approaches to documentary photography that challenge the established principles of observing the contemporary world. The approximately 70 works in the exhibition, including several from the High’s collection, exemplify a recent shift in how photographers have taken up the challenge of making meaningful images from the world around them in a lyrical way, rather than utilizing the traditional approach of a dispassionate observer.

The title, which is inspired by the Emily Dickinson poem “Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” accentuates the sidelong and deeply personal approach the featured artists take to address the current social and political landscape in their work. The artists consider issues that documentary photographers have grappled with for decades and that remain pertinent to contemporary American life: race and inequality, identity and sexual orientation, immigration and globalization, youth and coming of age, climate change and environmental justice, and the uncanny pervasiveness of violence. There are overlaps and intersections of more than one of these topics within each body of work as the artists address the pulse of the moment while self-consciously skirting the direct and detached methods of traditional documentary photography.

“While they eschew conventional approaches to photographing the world as it is, these artists nonetheless draw our attention to real-world, contemporary issues of great importance,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “We are proud to present their work and to offer an opportunity for our audiences to appreciate their unique perspectives and the beauty and poignance of their photographs.”

Without the elaborate staging and fabrication that have been the hallmark of photography in the contemporary art world, these artists use a hybrid language of documentary realism by introducing subjective techniques that employ memory, autobiography, historical imagination, subtle performance and archival appropriation. Their photographs are often playful in their visual style as they expand the boundaries of the medium through an improvisational feel that captures the twists and bends of lived experience.

“By weaving between documentary and narrative modes and embracing their own subjectivity, these artists enthusiastically affirm Walker Evans’ notion of the ‘lyric documentary,’ foregrounding that while a photograph may not serve a functional purpose as a record, it nonetheless poetically reveals a deeper insight about the world we inhabit,” said Gregory Harris, the High’s Donald and Marilyn Keough Family curator of photography and organizing curator of the exhibition. “Each of their personal histories and experiences inform their perspectives, leading to incredibly compelling work that we are honored to present at the Museum.”


Truth Told Slant
March 22 – August 11, 2024
High Museum of Art
280 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30309

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