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The Women of National Geographic at Orlando Museum of Art

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 3:17 pm

WomenVision Brendan O'Conner, left, and Scott Campbell look at National Geographic photographer Lyn Johnson's photo titled Monkey Limb during the Women of Vision exhibit at the Orlando Museum of Art on Jan 21, 2016. News-Gazette Photo/Marc Clery

WomenVision
Brendan O’Conner, left, and Scott Campbell look at National Geographic photographer Lyn Johnson’s photo titled Monkey Limb during the Women of Vision exhibit at the Orlando Museum of Art on Jan 21, 2016. News-Gazette Photo/Marc Clery

By Peter Covino

A&E Editor

If a picture tells a thousand words, the new Orlando Museum of Art exhibit Women ofå Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment could fill an encyclopedia.

Sometimes mesmerizing, often compelling, occasionally even devastating, the nearly 100 photos exhibit accompanied some of the most powerful and impactful stories published by National Geographic Magazine over the last decade.

The photo showcase, lovingly and handsomely hung at the gallery rooms at the music, features the photographs of Maggie Steber, Kitra Cahana, Amy Toensing, Carolyn Drake, Diane Cook, Lynn Johnson, Beverly Joubert, Jodi Cobb, Stephanie Sinclair, Ericka Larsen and Lynsey Addario.

Some of the photos have become individually famous in their own right, since they were originally published.  From the moment you enter one of the rooms, most rooms feature the works of an individual National Geographic photographer, it is hard not to be drawn to a particular image.

While some of the photographs may be more dramatic, none capsulizes a lifetime like Toensing’s The Simple Life from 1999. Part of photo essay for the magazine that explores the people of Monhegan Island, Maine, an island of fewer than 90 residents, most lobstermen and artists, it’s focus is on two elderly brothers (now deceased), who shared a bedroom, with single beds under each other’s portraits, with their faithful dog between them is his own home-made doggy bed.

The preview featured guest photographer Jodi Cobb, who has received many accolades for her photo journalism, shared her experiences, particularly photographing women sold into sex trafficking around the world.

There is more slavery now than at any other time in history, Cobb said, particularly in places like India.

“It broke my heart,” Cobb said of the experiences, “but I knew it was helping since 40 million people would see it.”

After months and months working on that project, she deliberately sought out a less taxing subject like the city of Venice, Italy’s annual Carnevale, pre-Lenten festival.

National Geographic Magazine’s Vice President Kathryn Keane said when the magazine talked about doing a traveling exhibition, the aim at first wasn’t to showcase the magazine’s female photographers.

“But when we looked at the photos of the past decade, many of them were taken by women,” she said.

“For the last decade, some of our most powerful stories have been produced by a new generation of photojournalists who are women,” she said.

The Women of Vision exhibition will be at the Orlando Museum of Art, sponsored by PNC Financial Services Group, will be at the museum through April 25.

Of course, there are many outstanding photographs throughout the exhibition. Make sure you stop and linger at each one. Each room features a detailed description of the National Geographic photographer, so you when you look at a picture you will get some sort of sense of what it must have felt like to be in her shoes when she took that photograph.

Among the many images that will linger long after you leave the exhibition  are Lynsey Addario’s Baghdad After the Storm (2011),  a photo of movie-goers in Iraq enjoying a 3D theater experience (complete with 3D glasses, shaking seats and wind machines); and Carolyn Drake’s The Other Tibet (2009), a rare time of club partying for the minority Muslim Han Chinese population.

In addition to the photographic exhibit, visitors also will have the opportunity for a more hands-on look at how National Geographic editors work closely with the photographers to select the images and make them tell a story via video vignettes.

“We are pleased to host Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment,” said Glen Gentele, director and CEO of the Orlando Museum of Art. “The work of these 11 extraordinary photographers inspires us to see beyond ourselves. Their images have captured the world’s imagination with riveting and historic, passionate and dire moments that positively impact our lives.”

You can find more information on the exhibit, including photos and background biographies at Women of Vision website woveexhibition.org.