Gallery hosts centennial photography show

MonOrchid Gallery in downtown Phoenix is hosting a reception at 7 p.m. for 11 photographers' work marking Arizona's centennial with different perspectives. The event is open to the public. (Evie Carpenter/DD)

Arizona’s changing landscape lends more to a photographer’s eye than just pretty sunsets and saguaros.

“The Forty-Eighth: Contemporary Photography at Arizona’s Centennial” highlights the work of 11 photographers but steers clear of the typical Grand Canyon landscapes and Monument Valley shots.

William LeGoullon, co-curator of the exhibition, set out to create a show that captures various points of view and helps promote some lesser-known photographers.

All the artists show a different side of Arizona through a similar aesthetic but very different perspectives, LeGoullon said.

The exhibition, currently on display in the MonOrchid Gallery, at 214 E. Roosevelt St., had its first showing Tuesday and will be open until March 23. The next reception is tonight at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

Wayne Rainey, a photographer and the owner of MonOrchid, said the first reception, on Arizona’s centennial, was well-attended for being both a weeknight and Valentine’s Day, but he hopes to see a larger turnout tonight.

Jesse Rieser, one of the photographers whose work is on display, describes the show as not just being about Arizona as it celebrates its centennial, but as a living view of the state. “It is like looking in the mirror a little bit,” he said.

“I am inspired by the humor in things you see in everyday life that 98 percent of the time people don’t notice,” Rieser said.

Tiffiney Yazzie, 26, has only been taking photographs for the past five years and was surprised when LeGoullon contacted her and told her about the exhibition he wanted to curate.

“I really loved the idea so I agreed to be a part of the show,” she said. “I’ve spent my entire life in Arizona … it’s my foundation.”

Yazzie’s work focuses on portraiture and the matriarchal lineage that is integral to her Navajo culture, while much of the other work being shown is landscape- and cityscape-based.

LeGoullon, Rieser and Yazzie all graduated with bachelor’s degrees in fine arts from ASU.

Several of the other featured photographers, including Thomas Schultz, also attended ASU and have lived in Arizona for extended periods of time.

“I think all of us are dealing with that sort of urban sprawl and dealing with the changing landscapes, trying to document the progress,” Schultz said.

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