Emmet Gowin: A Collective Portrait

Emmet Gowin, American, born 1941: Pivot Agriculture in the Snake River Plain, Washington, 1991, printed 1993. Toned gelatin silver print. Gift of the artist, Princeton University Spring Portfolio 1993 (SP1993.4). Photo Bruce M. White

The exhibition celebrates the ongoing creative career of a great artist and legendary Princeton professor who retires at the end of 2009. Emmet Gowin is held in the highest esteem as a photographer of the family (his own), the man-altered landscape of the nuclear era, and details of nature that he observes with the close, unsparing scrutiny of a true lover. Among the photographs in the exhibition will be works by Gowin’s mentors; work by Gowin himself ranging in time from his student years to the present; prints he has contributed to the Spring Portfolio produced annually by Princeton’s advanced photography students since 1987; and photographs by twenty students from throughout Gowin’s thirty-five years at Princeton.

The students have gone on to pursue paths as diverse as anthropology, graphic design, activism, and fine art, but all of them locate the roots of their inspiration in Gowin’s depthless faith in the power of photography as a medium, a discipline, and a way of life.