Personal identities in the Portrait Photography of Richard Samuel Roberts
term “props” brings to mind the objects used in the theater that help establish
the meaning of a scene. In this theater context, the word is shortened from
“properties,” things collectively owned by a theater group. But could the term
also reflect the notion that props show “properties” of a character, offering
layers of information and meaning to a viewer.? “Props” is also a slang term,
meaning “proper respect.” In this show, we analyze the props in photographic
portraits taken by RSR between 1920-1936 to see the way that the “props”—most
often objects chosen by the sitters themselves—tell us something about the
self-identity of the sitters. The objects chosen often underscore the proper
respect due the sitters based on their attainments, but also can give
insights—in an otherwise very formulaic genre—into the inner desires and
predilections of the sitters. Props thus can help us see beyond the surface,
or, perhaps conversely, can reify socially-agreed upon tropes.
September 3 –
December 14, 2019
Family Art Museum (lower level)
Exhibit Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 1 – 5 p.m.
Thursday: 1 – 9 p.m.
Closed on Sunday and Monday