William Gedney chose his subjects and often photographed people who were marginalized, living difficult lives outside the mainstream of society. But he never simplified the lives he portrayed. Instead, Gedney’s deeply sympathetic photographs transcend the specific moment in which they were made and remain meaningful to us today because he recorded human qualities that exist outside of time and in all of us.
Curator Margaret Sartor provided an overview of Gedney’s photographic practice, drawing on his three main bodies of work: India, Eastern Kentucky and San Francisco. Curator Shanay Jhaveri situated William Gedney in a larger context of Western & Indian photographers pre and post independence.
Margaret Sartor is a writer and photographer currently teaching at Duke University Durham, North Carolina. Throughout her career, Sartor has examined the unique power of photography to explore and illuminate questions of personal identity and belonging. Her books include Dream of a House: The Passions and Preoccupations of Reynolds Price ; Gertrude Blom: Bearing Witness, What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney and the critically acclaimed memoir Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets, and Growing Up in the 1970s. Her own photographs have been published and exhibited widely. They are represented in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Ogden Museum of Southern Art and North Carolina Museum of Art. They have appeared in several books and periodicals. As a photography curator, Sartor has worked with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, the International Center for Photography in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She has most recently co-curated the Gedney In India show at the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery, CSMVS from March – June 2017.
Shanay Jhaveri is the editor of Outsider Films on India: 1950 – 1990 (The Shoestring Publisher, 2010) and Western Artists and India: Creative Inspirations in Art and Design (Thames and Hudson, 2013). He has curated film programmes at Tate Modern, Iniva, LUX/ICA Biennial of Moving Images, and the exhibition Companionable Silences at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. He is a contributing editor to Frieze. He is a graduate from Brown University concentrating in Art-Semiotics and the History of Art and Architecture, and is currently a Phd. candidate at the Royal College of Art, London. At the Palais de Tokyo, Paris in 2013, he curated the show Companionable Silences – a presentation that revolves around one painting. In 2014, he curated In Dialogue and Amrita Sher-Gil and Lionel Weldt at Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai. He developed a film programme for Dhaka Art Summit in 2016. Currently, he is working as an assistant curator of South Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He’s also written an accompanying essay to the Nasreen Mohamedi Retrospective, and is working on a new book, Chandigarh Is In India, that delves into the “artistic responses that Chandigarh has engendered since its inception.” He has most recently co-curated the Gedney In India show at the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery, CSMVS from March – June 2017.