This exhibition presents photographic portraits of artists, entertainers, and celebrities from Telfair Museums’ permanent collection. Each of the subjects are virtuosos in their fields: painting, photography, writing, acting, singing, or sports. Dating from the early 20th century to the present day, these portraits vary broadly in presentation of the sitter, showing how the photographers utilized the medium to reinforce or subvert the subjects’ self-image. Many of the photographs fit the following categorizations: carefully staged presentations meant to convey an attitude or profession; posed yet revealing photographs that unmask the sitter’s personality; or candid shots that allow the viewer access into an otherwise unattainable life. Although the photographs show famous faces, they ultimately underscore a common human desire—the yearning to be seen and understood.
This exhibition is organized by Telfair Museums and curated by Erin Dunn, Assistant Curator at Telfair Museums. This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Mrs. Robert O. Levitt.