From Dorothea Lange in the Great-Depression 1930s, and Robert Frank in the Cold-War 1950s, to Stephen Shore in the Vietnam-era 1970s, Walker Pickering continues the grand tradition of socially engaged photographic road trips across the United States. With his medium-format film camera, he discovers and documents a panoply of American places in square-format photographs that remind us of who we are as individuals and members of a society. Urban parking lots, rural roads, monuments, motel rooms, and roadside attractions receive Pickering’s equal, loving attention. Often infused with golden sunlight and blending beauty with apparent ugliness, his landscapes are both physical and psychic spaces.
– Toby Kamps, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Menil Collection
As You Were
Teenagers spend much of their time developing their personal and social identities — ironically, acts which are now made significantly more difficult by their perpetual connectedness through technology and social media. By participating in physically demanding musical activities like marching band, they are able to unite with their peers as they progress toward adulthood.
Reflecting on his own experience decades prior, artist Walker Pickering made photographs over the course of eight years, accessing a network of former colleagues and mentors in music education around the United States. Working with musicians from 12 to 24 years in age, Pickering created portraits, embedded himself with drum & bugle corps — the professional equivalent of a traveling brass band — and photographed high school and college bands alike in this photographic essay on the modern-day offspring of ancient military bands. As You Were seeks to share a “backstage” view of the difficulties of participating in this activity, in addition to the challenges, confusion, and beauty of adolescence itself.
Walker Pickering is an artist and educator from Texas, now living in the Midwest. He is an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he has taught photography, video, and bookmaking since 2014. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally, and is included in a number of private and public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The Wittliff Collection of Southwestern & Mexican Photography. He is the recipient of the 2013 Clarence John Laughlin Award.
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