Sunday, November 26, 2006

Gita Lenz, Photographer

copyright Gita Lenz

Short story...

A friend of mine who lives in New york, called me a year or so ago and said that he was helping a friend of his into an assisted living situation. He said that she was a photographer and he thought a very good one. His friend's name is Gita Lenz and I had met her about four years ago at an opening for a show I had in New York in 2002. She is beautiful really. I made the trip to New York to take a look at the work and see what my friend had in mind. Gita has boxes of work, boxes of negatives, correspondence, the whole thing. It is a life in images. Well, actually we feel that she might not have been a photographer for much of her life. But the images are likely from the late forties and into the sixties. Since Gita was moving out of her place, we needed a place to store the work. Ultimately, we decided that I would make a good temporary home for them in Virginia.

So, jump to the present and I recently checked in with Gita again up in New York while taking down a recent show. She really is amazingly sharp and funny. I have begun to do some editing with the work and I took a lot of images up to her so that she could see them and talk about them and basically just to visit with her. It was very cool to see how much she enjoyed the photos.

For me, visiting with her, looking at the work, it stirs up all kinds of thoughts. Why is it we do what we do? When we are gone, is anyone really going to care? Gita has an amazing range of work... street stuff, abstracts, experimental images, portraits of artist / dancer types, documentary work. She was a student of Aaron Siskind's, she was in the landmark 'Family of Man' exhibition in 1955. She was also a published poet. And yet, here is her work, in boxes, in some random guy's house that she has only met a couple of times and the work is still trying to get noticed. It kind of tears me up really.

Anyway, I have only just begun trying to figure out what to do with the work but I will try to keep this online diary going because I think it will be an interesting trek. For next spring, I have a couple of interns from the University where I am teaching and hopefully they will help me get further along. Ultimately, I hope to get together some tight portfolios and see them accessioned into notable photo archives or appropriate museums. Then, if we can put together enough of the story, I could imagine a book might also be a possibility...

So, more later on Gita.


Anonymous said...

Really looking forward to this G. You spoke of this at your show opening in NYC, and I have been dying to see some shots. What a great project this is going to be. Cudos for caring to get the job done and my hats off to Gita :)

Gary M

Susan B. said...

Her story just rips me up.
Hats off to you for taking the time and caring enough to assist another artist get their work out there.
Look forward to more

Anonymous said...

Hi Gordon, Long time no speak! Damion here. hope all is well.
This is a great story . i really hope you can get something out of it. I got engaged there -well at the ice rink -not the rock. beautiful photo! good luck with it.

JOhn said...

Gordon, this is perfect for interns. I imagine this sort of intern work may be good for several reasons: boost their resume, appreciation of the history of image making, the assembly of portfolios and possibly grant writing. Plus you'll get to do the same. It's all bonus.

Keep the diary going.