In Time We Shall Know Ourselves: Photographs by Raymond Smith

moca raymond 2_Smith_RuralHwy_600thru aug 30
In the summer of 1974, a young Raymond Smith set out from New Haven, Connecticut, with a friend and two medium-format, twin-lens cameras to see and photograph the United States. Crisscrossing much of the American South, they traveled in a Volkswagen Beetle for six weeks, until the car broke down in Kansas City, Missouri. Smith returned home and took a job photographing students around the country for ID cards. Between assignments and during breaks he continued photographing for this project through September.

On the 40th anniversary of Smith’s sojourn, he shares fifty-two of his photographs. The closely cropped images document a transitional historical moment in a quiet, unsentimental, and non-programmatic way. The artist sequenced the images so that the ensemble is more than the sum of the parts.

In Time We Shall Know Ourselves is a remarkable achievement — the title, recorded from a roadside sign by the artist in his travel notebook, is most appropriate as it captures the collective experience of things seen, pictured, and remembered. The collection stands as an independent statement about America and about photography in Smith’s time and place. He once wrote that his photography is “more closely related to literature, especially fiction … than it is to the other visual arts,” and the “portrait is primary, and the photograph is a short story exploding beyond its frame.”

MOCA Jacksonville, 333 N. Laura Street, 366-6911

Author: Arbus

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