GERALD CYRUS: PORTRAIT OF CAMDEN IN PHOTOGRAPHS 2001–2008
October 26-December 1, 2013
The Atrium Gallery
Marshall Fine Arts Center
October 25, 2013
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
November 1, 2013
4:30 to 6:00 p.m.
Artist Talk Details
Weekdays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekends: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving Nov. 28
Philadelphia-based photographer Gerald Cyrus did what many Philadelphia area commuters do every day: he crossed the Benjamin Franklin Bridge over the Delaware River into Camden, N.J. Once he got there, however, he did something that few of those travelers do; he got out of his car and walked through Camden’s various neighborhoods from the riverfront to the inner city.
Between 2001 and 2008, Cyrus, camera in hand, met people and experienced the urban fabric of a city that is so often in the news for U.S. Census and FBI reports that place it as the most impoverished and crime-ridden city in the nation. Cyrus’ humanistic approach, however, yielded responses to him and his camera that belied the stereotypes of Camden’s denizens as dangerous and unwelcoming. Using a Polaroid adaptor on a film camera, Cyrus was able to expose the negative to light and give his subjects a positive print when he made the picture. This allowed him to share his images with his subjects in real time as he shot them, creating a real trust with them and earning honest responses to his camera. As such, his photographs are intimate and personal and yet feel completely universal. The result of these shoots, Gerald Cyrus: Portrait of Camden, New Jersey, in Photographs 2001–2008, which premieres at Haverford College’s Atrium Gallery on Oct. 25, is a series of 35 black-and-white portraits that tell the story of this small, post-industrial East Coast city.
Cyrus, a native of Los Angeles, received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. While interning at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, he began a series of black-and-white photographs documenting the vibrant music scene of Harlem and Manhattan in the 1990s, resulting in the monograph Stormy Monday and an exhibition at the Leica Gallery in New York City in 2008. Cyrus has received several prestigious grants and fellowships, including a Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2005. He is a skilled and experienced teacher of photography and has taught in many area institutions, including Haverford College. His works are included in many public collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the City Museum of New York, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and Haverford College’s.