Ann Sydney has a gift of making herself comfortable in what could be considered as uncomfortable situations- her photographs consist of punk, rock n roll bands, street skaters, cowboys at rodeos- most places where you must be fully invested or you may get a kidney punch or ran over by a bull. It is her gift of catching the emotion at the right time with her camera lense that makes her photographs come to life. Ann Sydney also has the gift to turn everyday occasions into the mystical. So when I asked her if I could curate a show and she said yes I had to keep all my screams of excitement on the inside!
“Resistance in the American Life” to me demonstrates what we take for granted everyday. Basic human rights that are now being challenged and taken away. When I hung the show I wanted it to tell two things- 1st- how the human experience is shared in common more than not much like the photo of the preacher working up his congregation to the punk singer screaming his sermon to his flock, 2nd- I wanted people to think about juxtapositions, such as the trans couple wedding photo near the straight couples wedding photo. Or the photo of Ms. Mamie Brown Mason whose songs she wrote are and have been the soundtrack to the civil rights movement, her smile bright and gleeful next to the senior portrait of Katie who is also full of excitement as she is having her senior portrait made. You have a man in a black lives matter t shirt- fist raised surrounded by protesters who are giving him space, his face tells the story of his position in life right at the moment next to the singer of Black Willis, on the floor, shirtless, covered with sweat- surrounded closely by his on lookers.
The crowd at the rodeo, the crowd at Talledega, the crowd at church.
The story in these photos as hung is in the details/ the tension/ the laughter/ the angst/ the void or voids that we fill or ignore or protest against as Americans- my way of hanging the show is a form of protest to let people see how I see the world as is. We always have more in common than not- the human experience is just and we are all humans. We need to resist going backwards- we need to keep moving forward. The photo of the empty Cherokee Indian Reservation next to Joe Minter’s hand painted sign that says- I will go to jail to be free.
Ann Sydney’s show will be on the wall for the month of May. The show is open to the public during store hours or by appointment.