Portraits of a Nation

Now that the economy is in the crapper and the jobless rate is skyrocketing, immigration isn’t a hot-button issue anymore. Even Sheriff Joe’s busy earning extra bucks with his new Fox reality show Smile . . . You're Under Arrest! instead of rounding up illegals. But photographer Jill Enfield, whose dad emigrated from Germany in 1939, says immigration will always be an issue close to her heart.

In her “The New American Project” exhibit, Enfield presents a pantheon of modern American portraits captured using the historical wet-collodion process, which requires the subject to sit still for nearly a minute. The resulting black-and-white images have a unique crackled texture and border that lend them an air of antiquity.

So what makes someone an American? Enfield, a lifelong New York City resident whose work was chosen for the post-9/11 commemorative display on the fence surrounding Ground Zero, asks that question via photos that depict immigrants and natives of varying ethnic backgrounds. “In NYC, it is hard not to bump into an immigrant,” says Enfield. “Who isn’t an immigrant, when you think about it?”

Fri., Jan. 16, 6-10 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 17, 1-5 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 24, 1-5 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 31, 1-5 p.m.; Fri., Feb. 6, 6-10 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 7, 1-5 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 14, 1-5 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 21, 1-5 p.m., 2009
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Wynter Holden
Contact: Wynter Holden