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2019 Annual Conference


March 07-10, 2019

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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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Past SPE Annual Conferences

Gail Rebhan

SPE Member since 1999
Member Chapter: Mid-Atlantic

Recent Work

An examination of the perception and effects of time is a theme that unifies my disparate bodies of work. Photography is inherently about time. With the click of the shutter, a moment is seized. Once the image is captured it is in the past. My recent work concerns death, mortality, memory, and living in the present moment - - all aspects of how time is experienced.

"Union Maid-Father" and "Passover-Mother" explore the enduring impact of my parents' values of social justice and religion. Both pieces, however, primarily are about sensing my parents' physical presence long after their death. Many people have similar comforting and unsettling moments. Yet often they feel too silly or embarrassed to discuss them.

"Stage Zero" concerns potential overdiagnosis in medical care for early stage breast cancer. A New York Times article questioning the necessity of the standard preventative treatment recommended by doctors is juxtaposed with paraphernalia of my own experience. The unknowns are highlighted.

"Lymphoma" concerns the death of my cat and implicitly questions end-of-life issues for humans and pets. "Funeral" depicts my 98 year-old aunt's passing. She appears to join her predeceased husband's tombstone. We speculate about her last years of life.

Humor returns to my work in "Present Moment", which juxtaposes my son's messy room with various New Age type quotes about the value of living in the present moment. Humor is also an element in "Fondue American", a piece that signifies 1950's timesaving cooking trends. The four other recipe box pieces: My Mother's Recipe Box-Index Cards, My Mother's Recipe Box-Lined Paper, My Mother's Recipe Box-Newspaper Clippings, and My Mother's Recipe Box-Sara Lee show the reverse side of recipes layered on a background of yellowing metal recipe boxes. The recipes are not legible. Observation of the passage of time and deterioration of everyday objects becomes key. The piece depicts common and quirky methods of saving recipes before the widespread use of computers.

Time is experienced in different ways: through death and remembrance of loved ones, physical objects degrading, health fluctuating, and simply being present. Using images, text, and layers, this new autobiographical work observes and inspects various aspects of time.

The images are 16 x 20 inch archival pigment prints.

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