Filmmaker and artist Jill Evans Petzall’s exhibit explores Western biases in travel photography | St. Louis Public Radio

Filmmaker and artist Jill Evans Petzall’s exhibit explores Western biases in travel photography

Dec 11, 2017

Two people can look at the same photo and interpret it completely different. Filmmaker and media-artist Jill Evans Petzall recognizes that and incorporates it in her artwork.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Petzall about her interactive exhibit, “Still Lives with Stories,” at the Sheldon Art Galleries. The audio-visual exhibit incorporates her curated audio stories of various interpretations of her photography. Petzall said she wants the audience to become part of the art itself. 

Still Life #2, Thailand
Credit Jill Evans Petzall
Still Life #9, Cambodia
Credit Jill Evans Petzall

“While the old saying goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ I think a picture is worth a thousand stories,” Petzall said.

Her images include reflections in store front windows or snapshots carefully composed to reflect the type of photography taken on iPhones. She was inspired by her trip to Southeast Asia where she was intrigued with what and where the tourists were taking pictures and how they posed.

The Emmy award-winning filmmaker and media-artist also explores how Western biases are promoted across cultures through stereotypes in travel photography.

At the exhibit, people can wander around with earbuds and hear the short commentaries.

“Everybody tells a different story and the contrast and the context are really what make the pictures live,” she said.

Petzall said she would like to include more children in the project by allowing them to give their own interpretation of the art work and encourages them to attend the exhibit during the upcoming holiday breaks. 

“Young people don’t know a world that they live in without documenting it with a camera,” she said. “I want to suggest that you can be more present without the camera than with it.”

Listen below for the full discussion:

If you would like to share your story with Jill, contact her at stillliveswithstories@gmail.com.

Related Event:

What: Sheldon Art Galleries Present "Jill Evans Petzall: Still Lives with Stories"

When: Now through January 20, 2018

Where: Sheldon Art Galleries, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108

More information

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.