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Questions Without Answers: A Photographic Prism, 1985-2010, Photographs by VII

January 22 - April 4, 2010
Tisch Gallery

"Questions Without Answers" featured in the Boston Globe!
Witnesses to a chaotic world: Photographs tell stories of conflict, change,by Mark Feeney, Boston Globe, February 13, 2010

Gary Knight, Co-Founder of VII Photo Agency, speaking at the exhibition opening

The Tufts University Art Gallery, Tufts' Institute for Global Leadership, and VII Photo Agency proudly present Questions Without Answers, a major photography exhibition on view at the Tufts University Art Gallery from January 21 through April 4, 2010.

Questions Without Answerspresents photographs from the renowned VII Photo Agency depicting defining events of the post-Cold War period and their aftermaths, from the Fall of the Berlin Wall and September 11, 2001, to Iraq and Afghanistan, The Balkans and Congo, Chechnya and Gaza, among others. The unique contributions of the independent photojournalists affiliated with VII are highlighted in more than 125 photographs, newly printed for the occasion, many displayed for the first time. These photojournalists collectively embody the tradition of concerned photography as their mission is to "document conflict -- environmental, social and political, both violent and nonviolent -- to produce an unflinching record of the injustices created and experienced by people caught up in the events they describe." As Stephen Mayes, CEO of VII, comments, "[VII's] work has never been about simplistic representation, but rather about supporting debate and contributing to change."

The end of the Cold War in 1989 began a new era in world history as globalization, modernization, regional and civil conflicts, complex terrorism, and environmental issues surged to the fore. People, states, and regions struggled to grapple with these ongoing challenges. At the same time, the media was enmeshed in a shift from traditional reportage to the era of multimedia, 24-hour coverage that blurs the distinctions between professional and citizen reporters. This major exhibition at Tufts offers a prism of both cataclysmic events and persistent conundrums of the last several decades, a prism that mirrors Tufts' Institute for Global Leadership (IGL) mission, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

In 2004, on the occasion of the founding of its program for photojournalism, documentary studies, and human rights called Exposure, the IGL established a partnership with VII Photo Agency. James Nachtwey, a VII co-founder, commented then that "Exposure will help us all to understand photography as a valuable tool that can help us learn how to make sense of the violence, the destruction, the chaos of this world. Exposure will help to create an incredibly important historical legacy, providing meaning in our lives. Most importantly, it can help to create a public awareness integral to the process of change." Since then, VII photographers have mentored Tufts students in workshops in Argentina, Bali, Cambodia, Kashmir, and Kosovo.

This exhibition has been co-organized by the Tufts University Art Gallery, Tufts' Institute for Global Leadership and VII Photo Agency, with images selected by the directors of the three organizations, with assistance from a Tufts Exposure leader, Samuel James. The exhibition was curated by Amy Schlegel, director of the Tufts University Art Gallery, and designed by Doug Bell. The exhibition anticipates an eponymous book Questions Without Answers: The World in Pictures from the Photographers of VII to be published by Phaidon Press in the fall of 2010.

Listen to our guided tour stops here:

STOP 1: Introduction to Questions Without Answers, Amy Ingrid Schlegel 

STOP 2: The origins and founding of the VII Photo Agency, Gary Knight, Founding Members, VII Photo Agency 

STOP 3: Humanist Photography, Stephen Mayes, CEO, VII Photo Agency 

STOP 4: Exhibition Overview, Sherman Teichman, director, institute for Global Leadership, Tufts University

STOP 5: 9.11.01 and its aftermath, Matan Chorev, IGL Alumnus

STOP 6: Europe's War, Jessica Bidgood, EXPOSURE/IGL student

STOP 7: Conflict in the Congo, Samuel Jones, EXPOSURE/IGL student 

STOP 8: Never Again, Matthew Edmunson, EXPOSURE/IGL Alumnus 

STOP 9: Alexandra Boulat, in memorium, Gary Knight 

STOP 10: Environmental distasters, Heather Barry, associate director, IGL

Joachim Ladefoged, Tsunami, Sri Lanka, 2005

Alexandra Boulat, Women's Day in Mazar-e-Sharif's Hazrat Ali Shrine, September 2004

Related Events:

Thursday, January 28, 5:30-8:00pm
Solo piano performance by John McDonald at 6:00pm
Remarks by VII Photographers at 6:30pm

February 18 to 22