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Curators' Statement

     Notable Santa Cruz photographer Alexander Lowry (1937-2010) began taking photographs in 1957. Lowry, who worked as a newspaper and public relations photographer, employed a documentary approach to capturing images. He taught workshops and other programs for the University of California, Santa Cruz Extension in 1974. Over a five-year period, his photographs appeared in more than 500 publications worldwide. This retrospective, which focuses on life in Santa Cruz County, highlights some of the finest images from the Museum of Art and History @ the McPherson Center archives.

     Lowry was part of a paradigm shift in photography that occurred after the 1950s. Many photographers began working in the documentary and street styles to capture important events from daily life. Lowry in particular focused his lens on the events and people he saw in his daily environment, stressing the importance of the everyday. As he stated, “I cannot say that I go out looking for anything in particular--I just go looking.”

     Our intent is to shift emphasis from chronology or visual elements of composition to the freedom Lowry took when choosing subject matter. We organized this exhibition to emphasize certain themes that emerge from Lowry’s work. As opposed to focusing on the ‘evolution of the artist’ philosophy of display, our themes highlight specific subjects: Significance in the Everyday, Political Statements, UCSC, Agriculture, Play and Fun, Landscapes and Landmarks, and Architecture.

     It is our desire to introduce visitors to the wonderful work of Alexander Lowry. This exhibition strives to contextualize his street and documentary photographs within the larger shift towards capturing the everyday. We hope the information provided will inspire visitors to connect with Lowry’s photographs and street and documentary style photography. Along with our interactive activities, the accessibility that an online exhibition offers will provide visitors with an alternative experience beyond the museum walls.