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Greg Miller - East Coast, West Coast
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Photo by Aline Smithson
Aline Smithson - East Coast, West Coast
The Tagomago gallery continues in its bid to become a leading platform for contemporary international photography this month with their joint exhibition East Coast, West Coast. The show brings together two American photographers, Greg Miller and Aline Smithson, who belong to the same generation but produce distinctively different work.
Despite this opposition in their methods, there is a clear vein that runs through both of their work; namely a desire to explore the complex relationships between people and the way those relations shape our world.
Greg Miller is a commercial photographer who claims his first introduction to photography was through his father’s pornography collection and the stack of National Geographic magazines at the family home. His personal projects focus in on the sometimes forgotten places in America, where county fairs and marching band camps are all part of daily life. The slick, carefully posed photos are all shot using a wooden K B Canham 8x10, in order, he claims, to disarm his subjects and gain their trust in a short period of time. When asked about the posed nature of his images he defends his methods by saying that the settings he creates are only better versions of a first witnessed moment, which has gone forever. His subjects are almost always captured with a notable physical distance but you can always feel the emotional connection between them.
Aline Smithson also tries to portray and express the multiple layers present in our relationships. In this exhibition is her Arrangement in Green and Black: Portrait of the Photographer’s Mother series, which plays with the tenets of traditional portraiture and the concept, common in Japan, where a singular object is celebrated. The images are at once humourous and poignant, showing the photographer’s 85 year-old mother replicating the classic portrait by Whistler, Portrait of a Painter’s Mother in various outlandish costumes.