York photographer Joanne Dugan's atmospheric black and white photographs of the
lower Cape and her uniquely composed cityscapes, inspired by the street rhythms
and architecture of New York City, lift "place" into new
possibilities of interpretation. With her astute sensitivity to the power and
the burden of photography and the transience of the moment, Dugan captures the
essence of her subject. Dugan cites classic photojournalism and filmmaking
techniques as having a strong influence. She draws from a range of influences,
including the filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, the painter Joan Miro
and the poet Ranier Maria Rilke.
does not find documentation and art antithetical. Her photographs convey
emotion and suggest narrative in a juxtaposition of her original perceptions of
everyday persons, places and things; humor; mystery; and sheer visual appeal
the expressive power of light and shadow evoke resonances beyond the merely
The treatment and cropping of the subject matter within the camera's frame are
of particular interest to Dugan. She believes that each subject dictates a very
specific composition, and her splendid and original capturing
of this essential formal composition is what makes her work unique, on-the-edge
photography. She plays her camera like a jazzman plays his piano. If you really
know the equipment, it disappears in the moment of art making; intuition takes
"I don't obsess as much anymore about cameras, lights, setups.
It's more about finding the essence of the subject. My favorite images
are those that feel completely spontaneous, yet have a careful consideration of
composition and spatial awareness."
Dugan has made pictures since her early teens. Her father was a photographer in
the Korean War and she grew up looking at his large format documentary
photographs of Korea as well as thousands of
saturated Kodachrome images of her childhood.
Dugan's work has been shown in
galleries in New York and around the world.
Her work is in the collections of The J. Paul Getty Museum
of Art, the Los Angeles County
Museum of Art and the George Eastman House, among others.
Eighty five of her images illustrated the Chronicle Books'
best-seller Taxi Driver Wisdom in 1996. She has authored two fine
art monographs combining text and image, To Music and Other Short Stories
(1992) and Mostly True (2000).
Dugan's lifestyle and location assignment work has won numerous awards
in the communications and design fields, including the
American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Art Directors Club, Graphis, How Magazine and Communication Arts,
among others. She received a BA in Communications from the University of Delaware and has continued her
studies at the International Center of Photography, Parson's School of Design, The Maine Photographic
Workshop and The New School for Social Research.