Side by side: photographs from Ferguson and Paris | St. Louis Public Radio

Side by side: photographs from Ferguson and Paris

Mar 4, 2016

Grand Center gallery Duet is pairing photographs by two photographers who documented the Ferguson Protests and the Bataclan shootings in Paris, as well as street life from the larger metro areas of both cities.  Both the gallerist and co-curator said the juxtaposition is intended to spark viewer’s awareness of the photographers’ unique perspectives in both circumstances.

"There are two things that go on with the photograph; the things that you know intellectually and culturally, and then the thing that makes a photograph special, that there’s something personal about it," said gallery owner and Lindenwood University Professor Daniel McGrath.

The show opens Friday and features work by Jarred Gastreich of St. Louis and Cristian Movila of Bucharest.  Gastreich’s work includes street scenes of St. Louis and work he made related to Ferguson protests. His work has been featured in the Riverfront Times, although he doesn’t necessarily consider himself a professional photographer or photojournalist. Movila’s work has appeared in TIME Magazine, The Smithsonian Magazine and The New York Times.  His images include street portraiture and images captured while in Paris during the Bataclan shooting. The photographer was not assigned to document the event but was in the neighborhood when the shooting began.

According to participants, the show isn’t only about drawing comparisons between police, protesters and terrorists, or to represent exact similarities between St. Louis and Paris. Organizers hope the images highlight the blurred lines between personal perspectives, lived experience and professional representations of major events.

For McGrath the show’s about "the view-point of the photographer and the photographer’s story."

Boy at Metro Theater Company event
Credit Provided by Jarred Gastriech

The show started to form as McGrath became more aware of his former student Gastreich’s work in the RFT.

"I became interested in in the way he was combining subjective experience with photojournalism, and then with Christian Movila, basically he’s experiencing local areas in the same kind of way," said McGraff.

McGraff’s gallery assistant, Cleopatra Nestor, helped curate the show, inspired by a talk Movila gave about his experience documenting the Paris shootings. 

"It was shocking and it was eye-opening and it made us think more about being a responsible person by knowing what’s going on in the world and knowing how history’s influenced nowadays," Nestor said.

During the Friday evening Gallery opening Moliva will project various pieces of work and discuss his experiences unexpectedly documenting a terrorist attack.  The exhibit closes April 23.

Follow Willis on Twitter: @WillisRarnold