Lightning Lectures with the Photographers of Tête-à-Tête

Lightning Lectures with the Photographers of Tête-à-Tête

Join us for a special program in conjunction with
Tête-à-Tête: Conversations in Photography.

The Lightning Lectures and Artist Q&A will comprise 15-20 minute artist talks by five participating artists. Hear the stories behind the works on view, more about the projects each image came from, and what these dynamic photographers are working on now! The audience will have an opportunity to hear the photographers in conversation and to ask questions about their work.

Lightning Lectures and Artist Q&A
Tête-à-Tête: Conversations in Photography
With David Graham, Michael A. Smith, Richard Boutwell, Tim Portlock, and Daniel Traub

Wednesday, June 15
7:00 – 9:00 PM

$10 Member / $20 Non-member / $5 student with valid ID
Includes Museum admission. Advance registration is required.

A bit more about the artists…


David Graham

David Graham (b.1952) is a Newtown resident who portrays America through the eyes of its people, their habits, and the built environment. Laced with a sense of humor and an interest in folk art, signage, and architecture, his images are marked by their cool observational distance and saturated color. His work is formal but also reflects vernacular photographic traditions like the snapshot, the family portrait, and vacation photographs. He has been the focus of eleven books, was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Michener in 2004, and has work in a number of nationally known collections. Graham was the recipient of an NEA grant in 1984 and is currently a professor at University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

(L) David Graham, Sandy, Pineville, Pennsylvania, 1993, dye coupler print on paper, James A. Michener Art Museum, Museum purchase funded by Anne and Joseph Gardocki (R) Ida Weygandt, Virginia Brown, 2004, archival pigment print.


Michael A. Smith

Michael A Smith (b. 1942) has been a photographer since 1966. Initially working solely with an 8×10 inch view camera and contact prints, he has since added both 8×20 inch and 19×22 inch cameras to his repertoire and is widely considered a master printer. With his partner Paula Chamlee he continues to collaborate on travels for their photographic practices, and run their own photo book publishing company Lodima Press. Smith is also noted in the greater darkroom photography world for saving Kodak’s silver chloride paper Azo. Smith’s principal subject matter is the landscape, both natural and urban, though he is also currently working on a series of portraits made in Phoenix, Arizona. The Michener Art Museum has held a number of exhibitions of Smith’s work including Michael A. Smith: A Visual Journey (1991-1992) and Photographs by Michael A. Smith (2002).


Richard Boutwell

Richard Boutwell (b. 1982) lives and works as a photographer and printmaker outside of Philadelphia in South Jersey. Instead of pursuing a traditional academic education in photography, Boutwell relocated to Bucks County in 2002 for an intensive apprenticeship with the photographers Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee. Over the years, Boutwell’s photographs have been included in national and international group exhibitions and reside in a number of public and private collections. He has taught privately and as a guest lecturer at Weslyan University, and currently writes and teaches photography and digital technique through the website, Black and White Mastery. While still working with the traditional camera and darkroom, Boutwell has recently taken to making new bodies of work where he makes digital negatives on clear films fed through an inkjet printer and subsequently prints through traditional darkroom techniques.


Tim Portlock

Tim Portlock’s (b. 1969) upbringing in Chicago (where – at that time – it was considered one of the most segregated places in the country) inspired his lifelong interest in the dialogue between place and the formation of identity. Educated primarily as a traditional visual artist, Portlock has worked as a  community-based muralist as well as a studio painter. His current body of work is created using 3D  gaming technology to simulate real world and imagined spaces based on the abandoned and foreclosed buildings in biking distance of his home in Philadelphia.

(L) Jack Rosen, Concrete Slabs for Homes, Levittown, PA, 1953, silver gelatin print, James A. Michener Art Museum, purchased with funds provided by Ann and Herman Silverman, (R) Tim Portlock, Valley.PSD, 2012, archival pigment print.

“My work is an attempt to describe the cultural and social changes that have occurred in urban space since the end of the industrial era in America. I am especially interested by the crisis this shift has placed on established notions of community and the cultural vocabularies used to navigate the physical and cultural aspects of urban space.”

Portlock is presently an Assistant Professor in the Film and Media Studies Department at Hunter College in New York City, where he teaches 3D Animation and 3D Game Modification.


Daniel Traub

Daniel Traub (b. 1971) is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker originally from Philadelphia. Since 1999, he has engaged with long-term photographic projects in China exploring the rapid changes within the communities and landscape. His photographs have been exhibited internationally, can be found in public and private collections, and has appeared in publications including Aperture, European Photography and The New York Times Magazine. As a filmmaker, Traub has directed documentaries including the feature length Barefoot Artist about his mother Lily Yeh and her collaborative artworks in war-torn communities; and Xu Bing: Phoenix which highlights the condition of Chinese migrant laborers. He has also directed photography for numerous documentaries and reports for networks and production companies including PBS and Arte. His significant bodies of work in North Philadelphia have looked at the social problems, community, and the landscape, with an iconic body of work looking at the proliferation of abandoned lots and the  reclamation of nature within them.


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