Anderson & Low: Athlete/Warrior

Exhibition Dates: May 7 – July 16, 2005
Location: Arthur Roger Gallery Project, 730 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 7, 6 – 9pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm

The Arthur Roger Gallery is pleased to present the first gallery exhibition of Athlete/Warrior, a collection of photographs by the internationally acclaimed photographic team of Jonathan Anderson and Edwin Low. Athlete/Warrior will be on view from May 7th to July 16th at the Arthur Roger Gallery Project at 730 Tchoupitoulas St. The artists will be in attendance at the opening reception on Saturday, May 7th, 6–9 pm.

Anderson & Low’s “Athlete/Warrior” series presents powerful photographs of young men and women who are training for both the sports field and the battlefield while studying at America’s three famed armed forces academies: the US Military Academy at West Point, the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, and the US Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs. Unusually, the artists were allowed relatively unfettered access to the cadets, spending weeks at each academy among their subjects. The resulting images, presented in diptych and triptych arrangements, contrast the formal and the informal and communicate a dual expression of the individual’s characters. Arresting juxtapositions of cadets in their military dress—from formal to fatigues—and in the uniforms of their chosen sports reveal subtle similarities and differences between the roles they assume. The resonant images in “Athlete/Warrior” go beyond the military and sporting uniforms to highlight both the humanity of the individuals portrayed and the noble aspirations that they embody.

Regarding the iconography of Anderson & Low’s “Athlete/Warrior” series, writer and poet Steve Anderson noted that: “The settings, coupled with classic poses, underpin one of the collection’s central themes: that of the hero. The iconic figure of the hero has evolved, from the warrior who fought with handheld weaponry to today’s sports star who dazzles with physical artistry. Anderson & Low offer both, often in the same person. . . . The community embodied by the subjects of Athlete/Warrior is one of stunning duality: toughness, both physical and mental; discipline, from inside and outside; honor, for country and for team.” In photographs that look both contemporary and timeless, Anderson & Low offer a modern interpretation of the hero as represented by the classically inspired iconography of the athlete and the warrior, and challenge us to consider our own notion of the hero.

While in the midst of their work on the “Athlete/Warrior” series Anderson & Low had the following reflections:

Images from the past, ideals of the noble athlete, the noble warrior, are embedded in the history of most cultures. . . At times as we photograph, the environment feels overwhelming. . . Memories from history, from books, from the media, jump into our heads as we proceed through the academies, juxtaposed with the evident humanity and humanism of people we encounter. The sporting ideal, the image of the noble warrior, set against these real athletes and warriors—and both expressed in each individual. An impossible reality presents itself to us. . . The humanity of athletes and of soldiers is rarely contemplated in any depth. Both are held up as two-dimensional images, devoid of any more than the most rudimentary character traits to separate one person from another; they are then worshiped, and on occasion reviled. . . We are bombarded with images of their successes, and sometimes their failings, both professional and personal. . . The psyche emanating from each shares little common ground—the same person, in different attire, not only appears to be a different person, but feels like a different person. Does this imply that the personality, the humanity of the individual is in part shaped by attire?

Jonathan Anderson and Edwin Low, who work as the photographic team of Anderson & Low, met while sharing darkroom space in London, and have worked together since 1990. Their photographic collaborations encompass the realms of portraiture, still life, nudes, architecture and landscapes. The artists work through each photographic challenge through a process of collaboration and discussion.

The work of Anderson & Low is exhibited and acquired by museums (including the National Portrait Gallery, London) and private collections worldwide. A large selection of work from the “Athlete/Warrior” project was acquired by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. In 2002 the photographs of Anderson & Low were published in a twin set of books, Athletes and Gymnasts, and earlier this year the artists’ Athlete/Warrior series was published in a new book of the same title. Signed copies of the book Athlete/Warrior will be available at the gallery during the exhibition.

For further information please contact 504.522.1999 or visit the gallery Web site: