Early Works

Curated by Laura Moya and Laura Valenti Jelen
Exhibition Dates:
   Newspace Center for Photography – April 5th – 28th 2013 (Portland Photo Month)
   RayKo Photo Center – October 17th – November 17th 2013
   The Center for Fine Art Photography - February 7th - March 1st 2014

Early Works is an exhibition that examines the naive imagery made by contemporary photographers when they were children. These early images often reveal surprising talent, visual intuition, and honesty. Kept for many decades in shoeboxes and faded albums, the images are often cherished belongings that play a key role in defining the self as artist.

This exhibition is a close look at photographers' earliest works, paired with personal narratives about the images and their role in each photographers' development as an artist.

Curators' Statement

The idea for Early Works came from a conversation in which we exchanged stories about discovering photography at an early age. What was it about the medium that kindled our imaginations when we were young?

We wanted to revisit the moment when other contemporary photographers first connected with the medium. We were curious about what childhood images might show us about the nascent stages of creative vision. For many of us, an early fascination with photography led to a life-long passion. How do photographers keep their relationship to the medium alive over the years, and ultimately choose to make it their professional voice?

Many childhood experiences live in our subconscious and are often difficult to navigate, even as adults. Memories of historic moments, of families unraveling, of play, discovery, and struggles with identity are a part of our collective history. This project is about imagery, but equally about personal narrative. A photograph can serve as a strong visual cue that can spark a rich story in a second.

-Laura Moya & Laura Valenti Jelen