Photo exhibit captures Iraq War protests

By Autumn Harbison

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the UK Art Museum’s newest exhibit looks right into the soul with a wide-angle lens.

As part of the Robert C. May Photography Endowment Lecture Series, a collection of photos by Judith Joy Ross opens today. The collection focuses on people protesting the war in Iraq.

Ross’ work has been shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, said Janie Welker, curator of exhibitions at the UK Art Museum. Ross specializes in black and white portraits, and most of the photos in the new exhibit were taken in her home state of Pennsylvania.

“Every piece of art is different from another,” Welker said. “It’s been a while since we had an exhibit like this.”

Ross uses an old-fashioned camera with a black cloth over her while she adjusts her settings to capture images, according to her biography on the UK Art Museum’s Web site ( Ross’ style of photography differs from other modern examples, Welker said.

“It seemed there was a trend in art that it became suspect to create portraits that looked into someone’s soul,” Welker said. “This harkens back to an older style.”

Other portrait exhibits at the UK Art Museum have spotlighted photos of celebrities, but the Ross exhibit showcases a cross-section of all the people involved in protesting the Iraq War, Welker said.

“These are everyday people, people like us, who go to work and do their jobs,” Welker said.

As with other artists in the photography series, Ross will be visiting campus Jan. 25 to give a lecture about her photography.

“One of the great things about this series is to hear the photographer,” Welker said. “We have other art at the museum, but you can’t talk to those artists.”

The Ross exhibit will be available for viewing through March 9 at the UK Art Museum, located inside the Singletary Center for the Arts. The exhibit is free for UK students and staff. The public can view the exhibit for free tonight but will be charged starting Saturday.