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Powerful exhibition

I walked into a great photo exhibition yesterday. I was in my workout duds early a.m. at the Aspen Club. Gazing from the walls, large, intense portraits followed my determined stride toward the lockers.

They were not the average pictorial fluff that furnishes fitness room walls. Those deep gazes seemed almost to judge me, and frankly made me feel a little foolish in my tights and sweats.

I allowed myself the luxury of pausing to read some of the bios which accompany the luminous black and white prints. Maybe I was feeling vulnerable, it being early and all, but I wept.

Jocks rushing to Pilates class must have wondered, “What the heck? There’s a full-grown man with a gym bag choked up in the hallway by the Aspen Club pro shop. I’d cry too if I had his legs.”

This combination of images and text hit me harder than anything I’ve seen since my photo school days nearly 40 years ago in Rochester, N.Y. Back then I sat in coffee houses with W. Eugene Smith and handled original prints by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Lartigue. No group of photos ever shook my soul like this exhibition – all photos by Pulitzer Prize-winner Eddie Adams.

It’s called “Speak Truth to Power.” The subjects are all human rights defenders – men and women who risk their safety (indeed, one has since lost her life) doing right by fellow humans who’ve been wronged, dispossessed, oppressed, marginalized, tortured and worse.

You all should hustle your privileged butts out to experience this astounding free exhibit which runs through March. I have to commend the Aspen Club for courting controversy by providing wall space, and inviting the public.

Ms. Inga Lark, who wrangled the show, has also arranged a lecture/presentation by Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, who wrote the bios which turned me to sniveling mush. At the Wheeler on March 18, “Speak Truth to Power” will be presented as a talk by Ms. Cuomo (daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy), and also as a theatrical rendering of her writing for this project.

If you ever cared about the world beyond your SUV, please attend the Wheeler show and also see the exhibition at the Aspen Club. You will be moved.

Dan Sadowsky

Aspen


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