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Likenesses by Judith Aronson

Judith Aronson

Likenesses consists of both photographic portraits and reflections. Judith Aronson's subtle, enquiring lens engages the viewer in a relationship with her sitters, and illuminates in turn their own relationships with partners, family, the places in which they live and work. The conversation develops, as these writers, artists, actors and academics respond to each other in an unusual chain of recollections. The pictures, taken over the course of thirty years in England and America, bring together Aronson's work as a photojournalist and graphic designer, vividly capturing the cultural life of the age.

The portraits in Likenesses attend to how people relate to one another. To settings and things. Husbands and wives, actors and directors, parents and children, a set-designer and his crew, a poet in his landscape, a professor among his books: here are vivid and touching evocations of many notable writers, artists, theatre people, and educators, and their worlds. Reviewing an exhibition of Judith Aronson's work in 2006, Mark Feeney in the Boston Globe said: 'All photographers should click so well. The resulting images miraculously combine detachment and intensity'. He praised her photos as 'rich and exacting'. What makes Likenesses unique is that the sitters observe and comment on one another — memories, assessments, elegies, tributes. A historian calls up a poet who figures elsewhere in the book; a poet summons up memories of her mother, a distinguished woman of letters, alongside her in the photo. The gallery opens its doors with a welcoming foreword from one of the sitters, Charles Saumarez Smith, the Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts, who was previously the head of the National Portrait Gallery and of the National Gallery.