Unsung Hero: Wayne Sorce

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday March 14, 2018

To say that the photography of Wayne Sorce (1946-2015) flies under the radar is hyperbole. This master of color photography, who worked at a time when anything not black-and-white guaranteed exclusion from the discussion of “fine art photography,” embraced urban chaos as his métier—in extraordinarily measured views of Chicago and New York. Mainly taken during the late 1970s and early 1980s, these vibrant, large-scale prints came to view last fall when Joseph Bellows mounted a show in memoriam. 

Engaging with the urban scene just when street photography began to enter the canon, Sorce eschewed the foundations of that trope: instead of sharp diagonals and close views being crammed tightly into the frame, his images are based on plain geometry and a highly measured—a studied—view. Although labeled “nostalgic" by others, to me these photographs are something else. Look closely and you’ll see exactly what it means to be observant; to wait until a shadow moves just a few more feet towards the front; what it takes to be patient enough to wait until figures crowding a street corner move along, leaving a few people who become metaphorical figures in the scene.

In the bird’s eye view of ordinary houses in Chicago’s Halsted Street, a pair of teens emerge from an alley to populate the otherwise empty neighborhood; sharply raking shadows tell us the time of day as they define the geometry of banal Monopoly houses. Even the photograph shot at Varick Street (above), celebrating the gridlock common on streets leading to the tunnel, people in cars become metaphors for the commute; the photo is more about the structures and colors of the cityscape. And his view of the jumble of shop signs featuring Bee Gee's Fashions honors a multiple of sources, from Eugene Atget to Walker Evans, with added witticism native to New York.


The work of Wayne Sorce will be featured by Joseph Bellows Gallery, at The Photography Show presented at AIPAD, in a follow up to the expansive show he mounted last fall. Info 4LSphoto

AIPAD: The Photography Show runs from April 5-8/ |Vernissage, April 4 at Pier 64. 12th Avenue at 55th Street, NY, NY Info 


Just in from AIPAD, the schedule of this year’s talks, just as it landed:

New to the program is the series Photography Talking Back, consisting of 11 talks that will explore some of the most challenging topics facing the world today from immigration, racism to climate change, gender equality and “fake news.” AIPAD Talks speakers will include Susan Meiselas, Alicia Garza, Sheila Pree Bright, Teju Cole, Sarah Meister, Tina Barney, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Adam Weinberg, Edward Burtynsky, Keith Davis, and Zackary Drucker, among many others. All Photography Talking Back AIPAD Talks are noted with an asterisk. The discussions are as follows:
Thursday, April 5
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. | A TALK WITH TEJU COLE*
Artist and New York Times Critic Teju Cole discusses his three practices: photography, writing, and writing about photography.
1:30 - 2:30 p.m. | ARTIST TALK: Susan Meiselas*
With Kristen Lubben, Executive Director, Magnum Foundation
Photographer Susan Meiselas discusses her current exhibition Mediations at the Jeu de Paume in Paris, which runs from February 6 through May 20, 2018, as well as issues of gender inequality in the photography world.
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. | ARTIST TALK: Sheila Pree Bright*
With Alicia Garza, Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter
Artist Sheila Pree Bright discusses her work representing marginalized communities and promoting social justice, which will be featured in her new book, #1960Now, a collection of photographs about the Black Lives Matter movement with an essay by Alicia Garza to be published by Chronicle Books this fall.
Sarah Hermanson Meister, Curator, The Museum of Modern Art with Artists Tina Barney, Sofia Borges, Sam Contis, Liz Deschenes, and LaToya Ruby Frazier
One cannot tell the history of photography without women artists. Sarah Meister invites leading practitioners to join her in a conversation that examines this history in light of each artist's contemporary experience.
Friday, April 6 | 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Elisabeth Sherman, Assistant Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art
The director and a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City will examine the current state of photography in contemporary art. They will consider the future of this ever-changing medium by looking at specific examples from artists working today, while putting these practices in their historical context.
1:30 - 2:30 p.m. | ARTIST TALK: Edward Burtynsky*
With Darcy Killeen, Executive Director, CONTACT Photography Festival
Photographer and CONTACT board member Edward Burtynsky discusses his largest project to date, which combines art, film, virtual and augmented reality, and scientific research. Anthropocene, with longtime collaborators Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier, investigates the irreversible impact of human influence on the Earth’s systems. The project will be released in Fall 2018 with new prints; two complementary museum exhibitions opening at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada; a feature length documentary film; an educational program; and a book published by Steidl.
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. | COLLECTOR TALK: Joe Baio
With WM Hunt, Collector, Writer
Joe Baio discusses his special exhibition at The Photography Show, Forever Young: Selections from the Joe Baio Collection of Photography. Spanning the history of the medium from the nineteenth century to the present, the collection is built around the themes of childhood and adolescence with images evoking the unalloyed joy, rambunctious mischief, and confounding changes experienced during the early years of life.
4:30 - 5:30 p.m. | SUPERMOON
Mia Fineman, Associate Curator, and Beth Saunders, Assistant Curator, Department of Photographs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present a major exhibition about the Moon in the age of photography. Planned for summer 2019, the exhibition will survey visual representations of the Moon from the 1840s to the present, and will feature works by pioneers of lunar photography, photographs from the Soviet and American space missions in the 1960s, and works by contemporary artists reflecting on the history of lunar imagery.
Saturday, April 7 
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. | CURATOR TALK: Keith Davis, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
The Hallmark Photographic Collection at The Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, is one of the finest museum collections in the country, and for 39 years it has been guided by Senior Curator of Photography Keith F. Davis. His talk will focus on the development of the collection, its transfer to the Nelson-Atkins in 2005, and the story of an extraordinary recent acquisitions opportunity and the far-sighted philanthropy that made it possible.
1:30 - 2:30 p.m. | FUTURE GENDER*
Zackary Drucker, Producer of the television series Transparent, Artist, and Activist; Amos Mac, Founding Publisher of Original Plumbing magazine; Nick Sethi, Artist; and Diana Tourjee, Co-Founder, Flawless Sabrina Archive and Staff Writer, Vice
How have trans and gender-nonconforming individuals used photography to imagine new expressions of social identity? Zackary Drucker, artist, activist, and guest editor of Aperture magazine’s landmark issue “Future Gender” will discuss transgender lives, communities, and histories in photography with Amos Mac, Diana Tourjee, and Nick Sethi, a New York-based photographer whose projects include a series on India’s festival for members of the third gender.
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. | ARTIST TALK: Wendy Ewald*
With Patricia C. Phillips, Writer and Independent Curator/Academic Dean, Moore College of Art & Design
Wendy Ewald discusses her latest body of work entitled An Immigrant Alphabet as well as her current exhibition at Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto.
James Estrin, Co-Editor, The New York Times Lens Blog with Artists Zun Lee, Iaritza Menjivar, Nina Robinson, and An Rong Xu
Four photographers discuss how their focus on family members brings an intensely personal view to political issues such as immigration and assimilation, as well as human issues of love and loss.
Sunday, April 8
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. | MEMORY UNEARTHED*
Chris Boot, Executive Director, Aperture; Michael Glickman, President and CEO, Museum of Jewish Heritage; Judy Glickman Lauder, photographer; Maia-Mari Sutnik, Curator Emeritus of Photography, Art Gallery of Ontario
Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross, an exhibition on view at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, reveals more than 200 of Henryk Ross’s extraordinary photographs documenting life in the Lodz Ghetto in WWII Poland. Curator Maia-Mari Sutnik will appear in conversation with Chris Boot, publisher of the Lodz Ghetto Album, and contemporary photographer Judy Glickman Lauder, who has devoted much of her career to documenting the evidence of the Holocaust. Glickman Lauder’s new book Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception will be published by Aperture in September 2018.
Niama Safia Sandy, Curator, and Artists Nona Faustine, Adama Delphine Fawundu, and Shawn Theodore
A discussion of the upcoming exhibition Refraction: New Photography of the African Diaspora on view at Steven Kasher Gallery from April 19 through June 2, 2018, which looks at reframing blackness through visual art and challenging existing representations of black life.
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. | ALL POWER: Visual Legacies of the Black Panther Party*
Michelle Dunn Marsh, Executive Director and Curator, Photographic Center Northwest, and Artists Endia Beal, Ayana Jackson, and Robert Wade
This exhibition, which debuts at The Photography Show, will be on view at the Photographic Center Northwest from April 26 through June 10, 2018. The exhibition, and book of the same name published by Minor Matters, showcases 16 black artists – including Carrie Mae Weems and Hank Willis Thomas – whose work has been informed or influenced by the Black Panthers.
Topics, speakers, and schedules are subject to change.

Founded in 1979, The Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) represents more than 120 of the world’s leading galleries in fine art photography. AIPAD is dedicated to creating and maintaining the highest standards of scholarship and ethical practice in the business of exhibiting, buying, and selling fine art photography. More information is available at



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