who meet monthly at Miles studio to share new work, voice ideas and get feedback. Known informally as the Salt Lake Seven (or Six, or Eight, depending on its fluctuating size), the group is led by Miles, a veteran photographer known for his documentary-style portraits of Utahs ethnic and minority groups.
Two years ago the group decided to work on a collective project exploring different generations of human life, from youth to advanced age. As they progressed, some members felt constricted by the imposed topic. So the resulting show, while still loosely themed, encompasses a broader variety of styles and ideas.
In his photographs, Miles tried to capture a sense of the interdependency that exists among people. Alan Jackson shot portraits of people who looked askew to him, then emphasized this by composing them in diamond-shaped prints. Bill Patterson captured female nudes, avoiding twiglike models or sensuous shapes in favor of blemished, uneroticized women.
Having no interest in glamour, my passion is in the creating of images of real people, rather than model stereotypes, says Patterson in his artists statement. In my long experience photographing and drawing the figure, I have found that from the artists perspective, women of every age and shape have their own unique beauty.
Carl Oelerich traveled to western Cuba to photograph peasant farmers, whose weathered faces reflect years of toil in rice and tobacco fields - as did the faces of their fathers before them.
Brian Schiele created diptychs - a pair of images side by side - of people he knew, then invited them to write a sentence or two on the photographs. Justin Hackworth snapped 10 generations of women in Rexburg, Idaho, where he grew up.
I have lots of good memories about that place, says Hackworth in his statement. For this project, I wanted to make pictures of people that represent the memory of my hometown, exploring the relationship between the town and its people.
At first glance, the subjects seen in Generations six series of images look quite different from one another. But because his groups members were influenced by one another, Miles believes the exhibit retains its cohesiveness and that its photographs share commonalities without sacrificing individual styles.
We re not trying to force how these pictures fit together. There are a lot of ways to do a portrait, says Miles. To him, all the photos in Generations reflect a straightforward approach to their varied human subjects. Theres a certain attitude of reality to these images. Theres a compelling interest in seeing people as they are.
Generations will continue through Nov. 9 at Art Access Gallery, 230 S. 500 West #125, Salt Lake City. For hours or more information, call 801-328-0703.
Text and image by Salt Lake Tribune