Judith Joy Ross, Abstract Images
The work of Judith Joy Ross marks a watershed in the lineage of the photographic portrait. Her pictures—unpretentious, quietly penetrating, startling in their transparency—consistently achieve the capacity to glimpse the past, present, and perhaps even the future of the individuals who stand before her lens. Since the early 1980s, Ross has used a large-format, 8x10-inch view camera as a tool to capture the distilled essence of her brief encounters with a cross-section of the American people, with a focus on those in eastern Pennsylvania, where she was born and raised.
For Ross, whose stated purpose is “to notice what is going on with other people and to record it,” this has required a spontaneous and radical reformulation of the relationship between the photographer and the photographed. When successful, these encounters yield pictures that enable an acute emotional and psychological connection that resists sentimentality, upends prejudice, and traverses boundaries of time, place, and circumstance.