The enormous photographs of football players by George Krause in the Plastic Club‘s Tea Room are thoroughly engrossing. The tough stares emitting from the players eyes, the sweat and grit on their faces, the glossy texture of their uniforms offers the viewer the opportunity to examine up close the epitome of masculinity, competitive aggression and stolid determination to win at all costs. DoN spoke with Krause as he installed the works and learned that the prints were created by scanning film negatives and printing the photographs on huge sheets of matte paper. Rick Wright, another great Philly photographer, pointed out how each of the photos are not exactly black and white but saturated with purple, green and maroon giving the images a lively glow.
As you enter the front door of the historic art club, a large book of over-sized portraits is splayed out on a table. At first DoN thought it was a unique way to present some photos that didn’t fit on the wall but instead discovered a book filled with intensely personal portraits of a wide variety of faces from hippies guys with earrings and greasy hair to stern women in power suits.
The exquisite gelatin silver prints beautifully presented answer the question of whether photography is true art is answered with a resounding,”Yes.”
George Krause was born in Philly, attended PCA, received the first Prix de Rome and the first Fulbright-Hayes Fellowships ever awarded to a photographer, two Guggenheim Fellowships and three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. The entire Plastic Club is filled with Krause’s photos including an extraordinary group of life-sized nudes in the newly refurbished gallery in the basement – it’s hard to believe such a treasure is so easily accessible to all at the low, low price of free. The exhibit is on view through October 24th, make the effort to wander over to the Avenue of the Artists and experience a truly unique exhibit of world class photography.