Marc Joseph: Pictures from American Pitbull / 2005

June 11 – July 9, 2005 Reception for the artist: Saturday June 11, 5–8pm

Western Project is proud to present the first Los Angeles exhibition by New York photographer, Marc Joseph. His images come from a three year sojourn across America investigating the culture of pitbull dog owners and breeders – resulting in the Stiedl publication: AMERICAN PITBULL. This exhibition will include images from the book as well as a new DVD from his residency at the Wexner Center:  Life is Short, Bite Hard and Shake.

Joseph has documented a sector of society that is truly American; images of power and drama, many wholly controversial. Photographing men and women in their homes, yards and public events, his pictures maintain an intimate feeling, while debunking many ideas about this popular breed of dog. In both landscapes and portraits, Joseph has captured complex notions of identity, race and class; questioning our definitions of fear, beauty, security and devotion. The dogs themselves are a loaded symbol of strength for many owners; reinforcing an ‘outsider’ or rebellious stance. What Joseph has discovered is a contemporary icon and mirror for issues of independence and power, security and family. His work challenges the assumptions and myths in an unexpected spectrum of white hot emotion and contradiction.

"I believe it is very important to look squarely at societal issues, and a photographic typology is the perfect vehicle for looking at this one. Mr. Joseph has created a suite of pictures that are as powerful as they are revealing. Seen alone the pictures are tender or frightening or dignified. Cumulatively they are a riveting photographic manifestation of American culture.”              JOEL STERNFELD, photographer

Marc Joseph was born in Ohio and has been shooting pictures since the age of 11. He lives in Manhattan and has exhibited at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, and in Amsterdam, Greece, and New York.