Over the course of the past thirty years, Judith Joy Ross (b. 1946) has produced a remarkable oeuvre focusing on portraiture. She has been working in series since 1982, when she began her artistic career with photographs of Eurana Park, a small-town municipal park. Drawing on her own biography, she often makes references to universal social issues. For instance, in her home state of Pennsylvania and in the surroundings of the towns in which she was born and lived, she sought out all of the schools she had attended and took pictures of teachers and students in their everyday teaching and learning environments. This resulted in a series of intensive portraits, which say a great deal about being a child and about growing up, about equal opportunities that are for the most part equal in name only, and about life in the American province. In general, there is also nothing spectacular about the settings she chose for her portraits: the premises of a supermarket, a gas station and garage, a baseball field, the city library, or simply the street. Ross attracted attention with a series of portrait studies she took in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The variety of the reactions and feelings revealed in the faces of the anonymous visitors to this memorial is striking. Both psychological and political aspects are equally brought to bear in this series, which is continued in a no less impressive way in the portraits of members of Congress or antiwar protestors.
Judith Joy Ross, who uses a large-format camera and works in both black and white and color, has received numerous awards for her work and carries on the tradition of August Sander or Walker Evans’ “documentary style.”
Text by Gabriele Conrath-Scholl and Claudia Schubert, Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur from Judith Joy Ross: Photographs published by Schirmer/Mosel Verlag
Images curated by Susan Kismaric
Judith Joy Ross is a Pennsylvania based photographer.
To view more of Judith Joy Ross' work, please visit Pace/MacGill Gallery
Untitled, Portraits at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C., 1983
Tara Schwenk's Book Report, My Dog Gets Hurt, A.D. Thomas Elementary School, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, 1993
John Lonczynski, Mr. Joseph Rosato's Band Class, Hazleton Area High School, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, 1994