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An introduction to Kenneth Josephson

Kenneth Josephson – Matthew, 1965

Kenneth Josephson, as surprising as it might seem (seeing as he is one of the masters behind conceptual photography), is not widely known. That is why we might start off by introducing you to the man himself. First of all, Josephson is an American photographer born in Detroit in 1932. He spent the majority of his life in Detroit, after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology (New York). He then got a master degree from the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Although he is not a public figure, his photography skills were a knowledge by various grants such as the Guggenheim Fellowship grant. His photographs have been on the walls of many renowned museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City or the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris.

Kenneth Josephson – Polapan, 1973

Amongst its most famous photographs, we could talk about «Matthew» (1965) a picture of his son holding a photograph of himself upside down. «Polopan» is another one of them, showing a picture of a woman’s intimate parts put on top of her legs bearing a skirt. Those two photographs are part of his project called «Images Within Images» which he started in 1964. With this style of work he plays with the public, shattering its expections and its vision of illusion and truth.

The man is considered as one of the pioneers of conceptual photography. A real master of the photographic story within a story, his black and white pictures are now part of the most famous art collections.

The photographer also developed another style of photography, a technique consisting of adding measuring devices in his picture by holding them there. Playing with perspective and illusion once again, it let through some glimpses of his sense of humor and added another layer to the classic landscape pictures (such as the one called «Chicago, 1973»).

Kenneth Josephson – Chicago, 1973

For anyone in Chicago, you can discover more of his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art where the exhibition «Picture Fiction: Kenneth Josephson and Contemporary Photography» will be installed through December 2018.

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