The International Center of Photography (ICP) presents its winter/spring 2021 exhibition: But Still, It Turns: Recent Photography from the World, guest curated by photographer Paul Graham. The exhibition—on view February 4 through May 9, 2021—comes on the heels of ICP’s reopening of its galleries on October 1st following a six- month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic and arrives just as ICP celebrates its first anniversary at its new home on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
In But Still, It Turns1, nine contemporary photographers present images made in the 21st-century United States that reflect a movement towards a lyrical documentary practice. Extending the tradition of Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Gordon Parks, and Diane Arbus, this work fits a notion of “photography from the world”—photography that resists both narrative arcs and the drama of photojournalism or staged photography, grappling instead with the world as it is, in all its ambiguity and wonder.
The title is the phrase that Galileo is rumored to have mumbled after being forced to recant his observations.
Vanessa Winship’s peripatetic vision in she dances on Jackson, which presents a conversation between landscape and portrait, exploring the vastness of the United States and the inextricable link between a territory and its inhabitants.
Curran Hatleberg’s gatherings of humankind in Lost Coast’s intimate portraits and episodic narratives that reconstruct a sense of place and community through a shifting cast of characters and scenery.
Richard Choi’s What Remains, which pairs video and still photographs to offer a meditation on the stream of life and its expression as a single image, between film and photography, between life and our memory of it.
RaMell Ross’s South County, AL (a Hale County), which presents images that center on the rhythms and flow of Black lives, embracing quiet spaces and quotidian moments where people are pictured away from the burden of representation, granting them dignity of selfhood. The exhibition also includes screenings of his Academy Award–nominated documentary Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018).
Gregory Halpern takes viewers on an enigmatic journey westward, across the desert and through the city of Los Angeles, ending at the Pacific Ocean in ZZYZX, where everything unfolds into a kind of rapture—simultaneously psychedelic, self-destructive, and sublime.
Piergiorgio Casotti and Emanuele Brutti’s collaborative Index G examines the city of Saint Louis through its streets, homes, and people, demonstrating how inequality is revealed through profound differences in local businesses or living conditions, as well as seemingly arbitrary details within urban surroundings.
Kristine Potter’s Manifest, which combines the genres of landscape and portrait photography to re-examine the canon of traditional western landscape photography, and in so doing uncovers a world far more formidable and disorienting than previously detailed.
Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa’s All My Gone Life, which braids contemporary images made by the artist across the United States with archival negatives; together they ask how the image, and the imagination, might play into the elaboration of a future in which vision and delusion so frequently overlap.
“This photography is ‘post documentary’,” said Graham. “The work in But Still, It Turns grapples directly with the world around—nothing staged, constructed, or dramatized. The show contains a principled refusal of photography that only pursues ‘prize-winning moments.’”
“But Still, It Turns reminds us that a quieter photography—one that reflects its makers’ deep empathy—is thriving in our fragmented cultural landscape and particularly charged times,” said David Campany, ICP Managing Director of Programs. “We’re so pleased to offer Paul and this incredible cohort of photographers the platform to share their moving work as we mark the anniversary of the first year in our new space.”
“We opened our new space at Essex Crossing six weeks before the pandemic shut us down,” said Mark Lubell, ICP Executive Director. “It’s been a tumultuous time for us all, but the work in this show aims to offer space for visitors to reflect on the components that make up our individual experiences and the empathy to be found for others. I hope it is a breath of relief and contemplation for our visitors.”
Visitors have an opportunity to learn more about the exhibition through a series of online public programs, featuring the nine photographers as well as a curator’s talk with Paul Graham. Dates to be announced at icp.org/events.
But Still, It Turns is accompanied by a 280-page illustrated book of the same title (MACK, February 2021), available at ICP’s shop. A “Further Reading” section at ICP’s shop encourages visitors to connect with the themes showcased in the exhibition through other work and will be accessible on- site and online. Additional photobooks by each artist included in the show will also be available.
But Still, It Turns: Recent Photography from the World
February 4–May 9, 2021
The International Center of Photography
79 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002