Reviewed: “7.4.11” at Carroll Square Gallery
If there was any remaining doubt about the enduring influence of The Americans—the celebrated 1958 book of documentary photography by Robert Frank—it can be laid to rest by this exhibit, in which a talented group of photojournalists known as Facing Change documented one July 4 in the life of America, specifically, the one that just happened about two months ago. Looking for the bold, reflective lip of a tuba, like the one in Frank's book? Carlos Javier Ortiz finds a pair of them in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. Craving un-self-conscious but dorky patriotism? Andrew Lichtenstein nails it with a bunch of upper-crusties from Greenwich, Conn. Seeking Americans wearing ridiculous, slightly unnerving outfits? Lucian Perkins offers a riot of frilly, antebellum dresses in Easter pastels. How about a body with an inanimate object for a head? Ortiz captures a bench-sitting figure topped by a trio of red, white and blue balloons. First-rate images all, but the most notable of the group break away from the (justly) durable Frank model —Lichtenstein’s photograph of spectators in a public park, lit by the eerie metallic glow of firework blasts, and Alan Chin’s winning image of a young woman firing water from a hose at a boy, with an expression of sheer delight on both of their faces.
Through Nov. 18 at Carroll Square Gallery, 975 F Street NW. Open during regular business hours. (202) 624-8643.