Social Graces

With all of the ways to view photography on the internet, it is reassuring to know that books continue to thrive as a preferred way to view the medium. Photography books also offer the perfect package when viewing a series, as they allow one to follow a narrative or story the way the photographer, editors, and designers intended. Few know this better than legendary photographer, Larry Fink. Throughout his career of over 40 years, he has published eight books, with another, The Vanities, forthcoming.

In his first and perhaps most paramount monograph, Social Graces, Larry Fink set out to represent the starkly contrasting lives of blue collar families from rural Pennsylvania by placing them next to photographs depicting decadent New York social circles. The series of photographs was also the subject of a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1979, the perfect setting for the elite to see themselves in Fink’s unflattering light.

Like much of the work throughout his career, Social Graces forces viewers to ponder the ever-growing social divide that plagues America and is still poignant over 25 years after it was initially published. The intimacy and empathetic documentary-style that marks the photographs of the working-class contrast with Fink’s highly stylized party photographs, a testament to his talent in uncovering the ugliness that lies within his affluent subjects.

Copies of Social Graces will be available for purchase at the ONWARD ‘11 opening reception at Project Basho on Saturday, February 12th from 2-5pm. Copies of ONWARD ‘08 juror Andrea Modica’s Treadwell as well as ONWARD ‘10 juror, Debbie Fleming Caffery’s The Spirit & The Flesh will also be available.

See you all at the ONWARD opening on Saturday!

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