Standing Up | JOEL RHYMER

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In Partnership with Cambridge College, 2021

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Artist Statement

In a 2016 New Yorker piece titled "Loneliness Belongs to the Photographer," Hanya Yanagihara describes the act of bearing gentle and silent witness as a photographer. It’s when the person behind the camera willingly makes oneself anonymous in order to give visibility to an overlooked moment in another person’s life. If such a photograph is created well, the photographer is absent in the viewer’s mind. And the subject becomes what is most important to the viewer.

In other words, a quiet moment becomes noticed by the world as meaningful all because another person has taken on the burden of loneliness. In such photography, the photographer seems to say, “Don’t think about me. Look instead at how beautiful life is.” I think it’s a difficult connection to achieve, but it can be done. To me, a successful photograph is an act of love.

I retired from a full-time career as an educator and naturalist so I could take more photos on my own. Up until that point I had made mostly photographs for work...shots of my students, nature photos for class, landscapes. I've had numerous photos published professionally, and I've had many selected for exhibitions. Several of my works are in private collections, and I'm active in a small gallery in my town. My work continues to move in directions more personal and candid.

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