Behind the Lens—2019 Infinity Award Lifetime Achievement Honoree Rosalind Fox Solomon
In anticipation of the big event, we are delighted that Solomon was able to share images and stories on ICP’s Instagram feed. Her captivating photos and insightful accompanying text can be found below.
The 35th annual ICP Infinity Awards will be held April 2 at Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City. Limited tickets are still available for purchase. For more information, call 212.857.9714 or email email@example.com.
"I found this group of people by chance on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) in New Orleans. I photographed Mardi Gras and the parades leading up to it over a period of 3 years. I was wandering around looking for interesting subjects. I looked through the window of a restaurant and saw four masked faces. They caught my attention because they were wearing fox masks. I was born in 1930, Rosalind Fox, in Highland Park, Illinois a suburban community where pretense was the norm. My pictures have layers of meaning, often difficult, even for me, to articulate. My preference is to allow viewers to bring their own interpretations to the images." #ICPBehindTheLens — Rosalind Fox Solomon (@rosalindfoxsolomon), Lifetime Achievement #InfinityAwards Foxes Masquerade, New Orleans, 1992
"The holy man waved oil lamps above a throng, that sang and chanted. After they kissed the ashram’s statue of Goddess Kali’s feet and placed Bengali sweets upon them, women and children climbed onto a flatbed truck to take a statue of the Goddess to the ghats at the River Hoogley. I stood on the back of the truck with my camera and audio equipment. The statue of the goddess was held against the driver’s cabin. All of the men from the ashram walked barefoot behind the truck ringing bells, as they sang and shouted: 'J’ai Ma, Jai Ma jai'—Hail to Mother. Hail to mother. A cacophony of sounds was in the air as thousands walked or rode to the river in a disorganized parade of trucks, pedicabs and small bands. Worshippers with Goddess statues big and small crowded the river banks. Men held palanquins with goddess figures overhead and danced around in circles before incanting final prayers and blowing conch horns. This is a photograph of Goddess Durga about to be immersed into the Hoogley River where, legend says, that she returned to the Himalayan Mountains to be with her husband, Siva." #ICPBehindTheLens — Rosalind Fox Solomon (@rosalindfoxsolomon), Lifetime Achievement #InfinityAwards Immersion of Goddess, Calcutta, India 1982
"Before Christmas, in Northgate Mall, a shopping center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, children lined up waiting to see Santa Claus. I lived in Chattanooga and was in the mall, photographing randomly when I saw those little ones climbing on Santa’s lap, one after another. I stopped and made a series of pictures. Beyond what the picture documents of the well known American ritual of children telling Santa what they want him to bring to them on Christmas, the photo suggested to me seventies traditional relationships between men and women. John Szarkowski chose this image for his seminal book, "Mirrors and Windows" and it was exhibited at MoMA. A curator told me that a young collector said that she could not see why this picture was purchased by the Museum. It was just a picture of Santa Claus with a little girl. Those who look closely and think about the image can find layers of meaning beyond what they see initially. For me, this little girl represents a woman who is totally dependent on her man who always knows best, telling her, I am always right. You don’t know what you are talking about." #ICPBehindTheLens — Rosalind Fox Solomon (@rosalindfoxsolomon), Lifetime Achievement #InfinityAwards Northgate Mall, Chattanooga, Tennessee
"I left my guide in the village of Huari. I was convinced that he was working with the Shining Path terrorists. The convent nuns arranged for a pickup truck to drive me through Callejon de Conchucos. I ask the driver to stop when I saw a landscape that I wanted to photograph. Then I saw her. I grabbed my camera, set the aperture and shutter speed. Shivering with excitement, I walked towards the woman who was breastfeeding a lamb. I asked to take her picture and she said I could. When I finished I asked her name. This image of Catalin Valentin’s Lamb important because whatever their point of view, people are passionate about it. Catalina Valentin’s Lamb was published by the 'Utne Reader' in 1988. One reader said they were 'so repulsed' they tore the image out of their copy of the magazine- another reader said the image was 'beautiful, lyrical, erotic, and peaceful.' In 1987, the Phoenix Art Center refused an exhibition that included Catalin Valentin’s Lamb because the board of directors would not show the picture. It was also rejected by the Port Washington Library and the Cleveland Museum." #ICPBehindTheLens — Rosalind Fox Solomon (@rosalindfoxsolomon), Lifetime Achievement #InfinityAwards Ancash, Peru, 1981
"My project was to photograph couples in Miami. Though I felt a little uneasy in sharing this intimate moment with the couple, I felt fortunate that they had agreed to let me photograph them. It only took a few minutes to shoot the picture. I find it easy to set up my tripod and frame a picture. Getting to the subjects I want to photograph is the challenge. I find that when people are aware of the serious nature of my work, they are willing to let me into their private spaces." #ICPBehindTheLens — Rosalind Fox Solomon (@rosalindfoxsolomon), Lifetime Achievement #InfinityAwards Lovers, Miami, Florida, 1994