Laura Wilson

Dallas photographer Laura Wilson currently has a show up at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth.

Wilson was the assistant to Richard Avedon on the project that resulted in a collection called In the American West, commissioned by the Amon Carter in the 1970s. Some credit the success of In the American West partly to Wilson, as she was the one who found and talked many of the subjects into sitting for Avedon. It is said that she was much more “charming” than Avedon.

But Wilson has always been a photographer in her own right, and is not just known as Avedon’s assistant. Much of her work follows Avedon’s, though, and this is very apparent in the current Carter exhibition: That Day: Laura Wilson .

The show is split between two galleries, the first being the large gallery between the original ACM building and the addition. The other half is upstairs in a large gallery usually devoted to photography.

The prints are big, as is the current fashion, but also reminiscent of Avedon’s prints. Most are black and white, clearly shot on film, and printed in silver gelatin. And, they are stunning! The darkroom prints were all made this year, although the images span decades. I did not find out who made the prints, whether it was Wilson herself, or another printer. Either way, it is incredible work.

The subject of the exhibition is also the “West”, and the people and activities found only in that peculiarly American sub-culture. Wilson makes no judgments of things such as cock-fighting or unusual local customs and rituals; she simply attempts to record them. But she does record them sympathetically for the most part. There are action shots, landscapes and portraits, etc. Really a comprehensive show.

Recommended! The exhibition is up at the Carter through February 14, 2016.

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