This fall brings three outstanding photography exhibits to Central Florida. At Winter Park's Cornell Fine Arts Museum, André Kertész: On Reading, up through Jan. 3, 2010, is a massive collection of more than 100 prints by celebrated photojournalist Kertész. Depictions of book lust, from a sunbathing reader on a New York rooftop to a Venetian gondolier drowsing under the arch of a bridge, whet the appetite for fall, when Floridians can once again live — and read — outside, instead of scurrying from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car. Kertész once said, 'I write with light,' an apt epigraph for this anthology of literary images. Critic and essayist Sven Birkerts weighs in with a gallery talk, 'Reading as Emblematic: Reflections on the Photographs of André Kertész' 6 p.m. Nov. 12. Birkerts, author of The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age, discusses the 'inherent beauty in the act of reading.'
The Atlantic Center for the Arts scores yet another international art luminary when Rineke Dijkstra takes part in ACA's Residency #135, the last one of 2009. Dijkstra is a Dutch photographer and video artist known for large-scale portraits with a conceptual impetus; her work, though nominally portraiture, is more social statement than individual likeness. Dijkstra's many series — on subjects as diverse as Israeli soldiers, adolescents, sunbathers on the beach and new mothers — show people in liminal or transitional states. Sadly, the Atlantic Center will not present an exhibition of Dijkstra's photos, but INsideOUT (7 p.m. Oct. 30), a night of open studio visits with Dijkstra, the other two master artists in residence (composer Elliott Sharp and novelist Antonya Nelson) and the lucky group of associate artists under their tutelage, promises next-wave cool. For a concentrated shot of Dijkstra alone, she will give a free 'illustrated' lecture at Daytona Beach's Southeast Museum of Photography 6 p.m. Oct. 27.
Valencia Community College's Anita S. Wooten Gallery hosts The Photographs of Jack Mitchell: The Thrasher Horne Collection Oct. 2 through Nov. 6, 2009. Mitchell, a native Floridian known for his portraits of movie stars as well as his dance photography (a notoriously difficult subject to master), credits 1940s film as a major influence. It's obvious in his work that he imprinted on those formal elements (the dramatic lighting, the expressive and carefully staged poses), but the pop-culture focus of Mitchell's celebrity snaps suggests a frivolity that belies his technique. Fun as it is to gawp at pictures of John Lennon and Jack Nicholson, Mitchell displays immense skill in creating his own unique representations of these public figures, rather than simply reproducing their carefully controlled images. Enjoy Mitchell's likenesses of icons and idols on both levels.
— Jessica Bryce Youngfeedback@orlandoweekly.com