Peter Goss


The Rephotography of George Edward Anderson’s Environmental Portraits

On Display

September 4, 2007 – October 12, 2007


Auditorium Gallery, level 1

The concept of rephotography is an accepted practice among documentary photographers and usually results in pairs of photographs (original and contemporary). These pairs may be considered from a number of viewpoints such as the effects of time and change. One of the most well-known rephotographic projects is Mark Klett’s Second View: The Rephotographic Survey Project (1984). Klett and his team of assistants successfully rephotographed the western sites found in the late nineteenth century work of photographers William Henry Jackson and Timothy O’Sullivan. Another example includes Peter Goin’s Stopping Time: A Rephotographic Survey of Lake Tahoe (1992) in which the photographer redocumented both nineteenth and twentieth century views of the lake and surrounding towns. Camilo Jose Vergara’s Unexpected Chicago (2001) involves the rephotography of neighborhood architectural studies. He systematically records the  process of “deindustrialization” of Chicago by photographing portions of neighborhoods every three to five years. Milton Rogovin’s Tryptychs (1994) is a three-decade documentation of neighbors in Buffalo’s Lower West Side. His photographs illustrate various stages in the lives of individuals, couples and families on the streets, in their places of business, and in their homes and apartments. As an architectural historian and documentary photographer I find Anderson’s “environmental portraits” important architecturally and culturally and as seen in this exhibition some examples appear to be little changed, while others have received varying degrees of modification to suit different fashions and lifestyles over the intervening 90–100 years. Some of the present owners had a print of the George Edward Anderson photograph and all of the owners were aware of the historical nature of their houses and enjoy living in them.