Philadelphia Museum of Art Only U.S. Venue Hosting Judith Joy Ross' Photography Retrospective

BySteph Walton WPVI logo
Monday, June 19, 2023
Philadelphia Museum of Art hosting Judith Joy Ross' Retrospective
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Philadelphia Museum of Art is the only U.S. venue hosting the Judith Joy Ross' Retrospective by a photographer with Philadelphia ties.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Judith Joy Ross' photography exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art will transport you to decades past.

Peter Barberie, Brodsky Curator of Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, says this body of Ross' work "gives us a portrait of who we are in our time and place."

Over 200 prints are on display; many of them made in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Joshua Chuang, Organizing Curator, says Ross first discovered photography at Moore College of Art.

"Straightforward photography captured my heart," says photographer Ross.

Ross says she went out and photographed people and that when she took strangers' photographs, she was intensely relating to them.

Ross works in series and the exhibition starts with Eurana Park, which Chuang says "is the park that she and her siblings went to when they were children."

Ross calls the park kind of a Brigadoon.

Her portraits capture the human experience.

"We encounter all of these individuals who are just facing everyday life," says Barberie. "Every photograph is a very brief exchange between two strangers who are sort of united by the big camera between them."

Ross used an old-fashioned 8x10-inch view camera on a tripod to take photos.

Ross describes her photographs as "direct and honest and evocative."

One of her longest running series is called Jobs. There are photographs of people at work in their uniforms, along with members of the military.

Chuang says Ross' pictures have amazing emotional depth that match "the complexity of her subjects."

Ross also photographed inside Hazleton public schools where she grew up.

"I wanted to help support people caring about children," she says.

She's also photographed visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C. and members of Congress.

As you walk through the exhibition, you can see the progression of Ross' work over the years.

"It's quite epic in its arc, when you think about American history over the past 50 years," Chuang says.

"I'm focused on looking until the world makes more sense and I see something," says Ross. "When you get the frame right, you found meaning."

"I hope people can connect with these people," she says of her work.

Judith Joy Ross' retrospective exhibition is on view through August 6.

Judith Joy Ross Photography exhibition/

Philadelphia Museum of Art

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130