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    Tragic Beauty

    Tragic Beauty Image gallery

    Presented by Center for Photographic Art at Center for Photographic Art

    December 12, 2014

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    Exhibition: Tragic Beauty, Photographs by Shannon Jensen and David Julian
    Location: Center for Photographic Art, San Carlos and 9th Avenue, Carmel CA (in the Sunset Center)
    Exhibition Dates: November 15, 2014 through January 3, 2015
    Lecture and Artist’s Reception: Friday, December 12, 6 - 8:00pm at CPA Gallery

    The Center for Photographic Art is pleased to present its newest exhibition, Tragic Beauty, curated by Janet Howell. Lecture by Shannon Jensen and David Julian at 6:00PM at Carpenter Hall (Sunset Center) followed by an Artist’s Reception with wine and cheese from 7 – 8:00PM at the CPA Gallery.
    The images comprising Tragic Beauty encompass both the tremendous challenges people face in the course of extreme tragedy as well as the magnificent resilience of the human spirit. This exhibition is an invitation to discover tender surprises emerging from catastrophic circumstances.
    When asked to curate a photography exhibit on the contradiction of moments that simultaneously hold both beauty and horror, I thought, what a perfect medium to achieve this visual impact? After all, photography in its most basic definition is the revelation of the contrast between light and dark. Every day we all experience contrasts: Good and Evil, Hot and Cold, Happy and Sad, Loud and Soft. Sometimes, however, these contrasts mean the difference between Life and Death.
    Finding two artists with a similar approach to the subject of tragedy engendering beauty proved complex. Ultimately I found this compatibility in the images of Shannon Jensen and David Julian. Both photographers captured tragic events—one event born out of political upheaval and the other, from a natural disaster that led to sociological calamity and displacement resulting in massive ruin. Both photographers discovered astonishing beauty in the rubble and splendor in the shards.
    For her 2012 series A Long Walk, American photojournalist Shannon Jensen photographed the grueling journey of the tens of thousands of Sudanese who were forced to flee the Blue Nile State and seek refuge in the South Sudan. Men, women and children of all ages walked for months under harsh conditions to reach safety. Jensen documented this crisis with her camera by photographing the wide and dynamic variety of their colorful, multi-textured, ill fitting and well-worn shoes. The beauty of these stand-alone images could not be any more effective in conveying the hardships the refugees had to endure.
    Seattle-based photographer David Julian encapsulates the fragmented pieces of people’s lives that emerged from the cataclysm of Hurricane Katrina. Rather than attempting to document the magnitude of this tragic event, he chose to focus on small individual losses. His series Katrina: Taken from the Heart, constitutes an intimate and emotional glimpse of once-precious personal belongings and treasured places that now are gone or irrevocably changed. In Blue Hole, Ninth Ward a home’s blown out wall creates a window to the serene blue sky beyond. In Red Hat with Fish someone’s overturned red felt hat forms the waterless bowl for a dead fish with silver scales adrift in a sea of black, hard-caked mud—a gorgeous tableaux fashioned purely out of tragedy.
    As Jensen so thoughtfully reflects, “How does one represent a journey in an image?” Tragic Beauty attempts to answer this question. Engaging the viewer with powerful and poignant imagery, the exhibition serves as a reminder of the frailty of life. People are vulnerable. Objects are ephemeral. Loveliness and joy are elusive; and in an instant, circumstances can change—both gravely, and forever.
    –Curator Janet Howell.
    The exhibition runs through January 3, 2015. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from Noon – 4:00pm. The Center for Photographic Art is a non-profit gallery and educational organization committed to artistic development, creative inquiry and photography education. To that end, CPA presents exhibitions, workshops, lectures and other photographic special events. For more information, visit or call 831.625.5181.

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      • Venue Info

        Center for Photographic Art

        San Carlos and 9th Streets
        Carmel, CA 93921

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        Info Phone: 831-625-5181

      • Dates & Times

        December 12, 2014



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