Artist's Talk & Reception: January 6, 2019, 2-4pm.
“In my head I am a photographer and a social activist. In my heart I have compassion and love for the underprivileged and the “other side.” Hopefully, head and heart come together in my photographs.
This exhibit—”Women of Our World”—is close to my heart. I could just as easily stage a show of landscapes, of African animals, of cities or food or performers; but I feel that the photographs here tell the many sides of my “heart” experience. Each image holds a story of my connecting with the joy or sadness of the subject.
The young woman holding the M16 is from a 10-day excursion among Philippine mountain villages with the revolutionary New Peoples’ Army. The young women are celebrating in Singapore’s National Day. I spent days in Tondo, the huge Manila slum where cardboard, tin and wood constructed shacks did not have running water or toilets; yet the Tondo mother and her child appear to have excellent health.
On many of my photo trips I was accompanied by my former wife Ruth Hoover Seitz, a writer, and daughters. The Filipina farmer laughing is a result of Charmaine and Renee’s interaction with her. I did many assignments for UNICEF and the World Health Organization which resulted in photographs such as the Kenya women in a literacy class—colorful and respectful of their learning.
A few of the photos—the Pope and Vietnamese refugee girls, for example-were made working for Camera Press, London; others such as the Moslem women in the get-away island of Lamu were made when vacationing.
Someone told me, “Even your pictures of war destruction and slums have a beauty to them.” I do have a disposition for the positive and beautiful even in my photographs of the struggling. The beauty of people even in poverty and the beauty of the landscape do merge as a coherent personality. Sometimes I show a photograph of a woman harvesting rice, for example, or a Lao woman with beautiful cloth with Pennsylvania landscape photos. The tie together is the beauty in both the human spirit and the natural beauty around us. I have a natural love for both.
Women do many works in their communities—farmers, craft makers, merchants, child givers and nurturers, professionals, home keepers and much more. I hope my photographs will provide opportunity to celebrate Women of Our World in their many roles.” ~ Blair Seitz
Blair Seitz is the photographer of 22 books. His photographs have appeared in many publications, including National Geographic Traveler, Nation’s Business, and The New York TimesMagazine. Blair’s books include Philadelphia and its Countryside and Gardens of Philadelphia. Turn the World Around is Blair’s illustrated memoir of his years in Africa and Asia as a photojournalist. His photographs hang in numerous corporate facilities, including Citizens’ First Banks and Geisinger Hospital, where eight 12-foot photo murals are installed. His website, blairseitz.photoshelter.com, features 5,000 of his photographs. Blair is a member of Reading Friends Meeting (PA).