ABOUT Joel Morgovsky

ABOUT Joel Morgovsky

Photographic Resumé And

Lecture Guide for:

Joel Morgovsky

Professor of Psychology, retired

Brookdale Community College

Soho Photo Gallery

15 White Street, New York, NY

Chairman Soho Photo National Competition

Soho Photo Gallery is the nation’s oldest and largest cooperative photo gallery.

An exhibiting photographer in black and white and color since 1977 throughout the tri-state area.

Studied with:

Bernard Hoffman,  Life magazine staff photographer.

Peter Bunnell, Professor of the History of Photography and Curator of the photographic collection, Princeton University.

Emmet Gowin, Photographer, Artist-in-Residence, Princeton University.

Professor Morgovsky is a frequent lecturer and judge at camera clubs throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania and is on the speaker’s list of the New Jersey Federation of Camera Clubs.

Exhibitions and projects:

March 2016, Judge, 13th Annual Eyesights 2016 Open Juried Photography Show, Guild of Creative Arts, Shrewsbury, NJ.

October 2015 -January, 2016, “Jewish Journeys” group show, Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmoth County, Freehold, NJ.

May, 2015 – Off The Wall, Soho Photo Gallery, 15 White Street, New York, NY

January, 2014, Soho Photo Gallery Group Show, Soho Photo Gallery, New York, NY

October and March 2014, Instructor, PhotoPsychology: The Psychology of Photography (4 sessions each), Princeton Adult School, Princeton, NJ

March, 2013, Judge, Eyesights 2013, 10th Annual Open Juried Photography Show, Guild of Creative Arts, Shrewsbury, NJ

January 2012, Monmouth Festival of the Arts, Monmouth Reform Temple, Tinton Falls, NJ.

January, 2011, Pictorial Print Judge, 78th Wilmington International Exhibition of Photography, Deleware Photographic Society, Wilmington, DE

April 2011, 41st Annual Monmouth Festival of the Arts, Monmouth Reform Temple, Tinton Falls, NJ.

April 2010, 40th Annual Monmouth Festival of the Arts, Monmouth Reform Temple, Tinton Falls, NJ.

May, 2010 – 24th Annual Juried Art Show, The Gallery, Center For The Visual Arts, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ

February, 2009, Brookdale Creates, group show, Center for the Visual Arts, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ

July – September, 2009, Circles of Influence, group show, Center for the Visual Arts, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ.

March, 2009, 16th Annual Krappy Kamera Exhibition, group show, Soho Photo Gallery, New York, NY

June 2006 – Modern Dance Reflections: Encore

Soho Photo Gallery, 15 White Street, New York, NY.

December, 2006, Asbury Park at McKay Imaging, group show, Red Bank, NJ

November, 2006 – Curator and participant: Psychologists In Focus: Seeing            Global Diversity, Callahan Gallery, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY

December 7 – January 1, 2005, Alone in Old Jerusalem, Soho Photo Gallery, 15 White Street, New York, NY.

September 6 – October 3, 2003, Featured Solo Show, “Asbury’s Winter”, Art Alliance of Monmouth County, Red Bank, NJ.

August 9, 2003, Presenter, American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada. “Reading Pictures”, part 3 of a symposium called Lens and Psyche.

June 25, 2003, Portofio Reveiwer (representing Soho Photo Gallery) International Center For Photography Career Day 2003.

October 1 – November 2, 2002,  “Asbury’s Winter” Soho Photo Gallery,

15 White Street, New York, NY

January, 2002,  2nd Prize, “Annual Member’s Juried Show,” Soho Photo Gallery, Judge: Ivan C. Karp, O.K. Harris Gallery, New York, NY

March, 2002, 32nd Monmouth Festival of the Arts  at Monmouth Reform Temple, Tinton Falls, NJ

March 6 – 31, 2001 “4th Annual Krappy Kamera Show” (group show), Soho     Photo Gallery,  15 White Street, New York, NY,

March, 2001, 31st Monmouth Festival of the Arts  at Monmouth Reform Temple, Tinton Falls, NJ

March 7 – April 1, 2000,  “Best of Booking” (group show), Soho Photo Gallery,  15 White Street, New York, NY,

March 7 – April 1, 2000, “3rd Annual Krappy Kamera Show” (group show) Soho Photo Gallery,  15 White Street, New York, NY,

April 1 – May 3, 1997, ,  “Bikes in Bondage” Soho Photo Gallery,  15 White Street, New York, NY

June 1 – June 29, 1997,  “3D/2D” (a series of color c-prints from around the country and the world.) Ocean County Artist’s Guild, Island Heights, NJ.

July 12 – August 2, 1997,  “Photography” (group show), Art Forms Gallery,

16 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ,

Curator for “The Unseen Image: Infrared Photography” by Joseph Paduano – special guest exhibitor at Soho Photo Gallery during December, 1996

Curator for SINAG Photo Expo, American Society of Phillipine Photographers, Jacob Javits Center, New York, NY,  August 1996

Curator for “Mostly People” by Carroll Siskind – special guest exhibitor at Soho Photo Gallery in honor of his 60 years in photography. March, 1996

Presentation topics:

What follows is a complete list of the presentations I can deliver to your group. It is also possible for me to create new programs to fit your particular needs. Contact me to discuss the possibilities.

“What is a Photograph”?
What most people would consider a rather simple question actually requires a rather complex answer. For example, Jonathan Green writes that “our experience of a photograph is not unlike our experience of the world, but it is not our experience of the world, it is our experience of the photograph.”  “What is a Photograph” will challenge you to think again about what photographs are and how they work. Using quotes from writers in many fields plus selected photographs as talking points, this session drives the issue of pictures being paradoxical things that one writer calls “impossible.” And yet we make them all the time and in great quantity without ever taking on the riddle.

“The Photographic State of Mind”
How can our minds be more open and clear when out in the field making photographs? In this workshop we will learn from photographers, psychologists, and writers from the art world what states of mind accompany the creative process. Minor White, Cartier-Bresson, Steven Shore and others have described their frames of mind while in the field. From them it becomes clear that awareness of feelings – the emotional response – is centrally important and therefore we will practice brief mindfulness meditations to improve our skills in recognizing the feelings activated when “out there”. From psychological research we will learn about the “receptive mode” of consciousness associated with creative work. And finally we will analyze the STRUCTURE of photographs to prepare us for going out to make pictures with meaning. The best photographs come from places where we feel “pricked” by something in the environment – Roland Barthes’s “punctum”.

PhotoPsychology is the study of the many points of contact between photography and psychology from the early days (1856) to today. In the beginning photographs were used to capture the faces of madness, a trend that continued into the early part of the 20th century. Today there are several forms of Photo-Therapy which this lecture describes briefly, but one, in particular is analyzed in greater detail. Two modern research studies on how photographs are understood differently by novices and experts is also explained. The lecture concludes with an explanation of Reading Pictures which is this presenter’s method for finding the maker in his or her photographs.

“Reading Pictures
This lecture explains the mechanisms by which personal information becomes infused into all of our photographs and teaches the mindsets essential for getting some of that personal information back out – by “reading pictures.” It contains an introduction to several basic psychological concepts as they apply to looking at photographs. The idea that photographers reveal as much about themselves in their photographs as they do about their pictures’ contents is the fundamental premise of Reading Pictures. The psychologically pertinent topics of perception, projection and attribution are explained and then you will look at portfolios by famous and unknown photographers with the goal of practicing how to identify the private, subjective world of the photographers. Learning to “read pictures” helps you to think past the actual picture content to discover the maker of the photographs as well.  (Also available as a workshop)

Inner Visions: A lesson in Reading Pictures using photographs by Lester Davidson.
If you have ever wondered how to look at photographs really deeply so that you can discover their deeper layers of meaning this presentation is just what you’ve been waiting for. Inner Visions is a guided tour, a programmed lesson on how to study pictures using a specific series of steps that will result in an enhanced understanding of the work and the photographer who made it. Inner Visions take the theoretical content of Reading Pictures and converts it into a practical guide for enhanced photographic appreciation.

“Are We There Yet?”
This program is the first lesson in a series available from my list about editing the ever-expanding body of images we are taking. Few (if any) presenters currently teach photographers how to edit their work and yet it is a critical skill for finding the “best” images among the 100s (1000s?) taken. This program is about the fundamentals of editing and your images will be used as exemplars.

“Finding the Treasure”
This session is about the dreaded business of evaluating – read that as judging – for the sake of finding the very best images in your collections. Assuming you have been whittling down your collection of 400 or so pictures from an outing or trip to 50 or 60 you really like, how can you possibly get to the point of selecting the best 5 to submit for the club project? As a camera club judge, I have done exactly that for a couple of decades and am able to describe some of my methodology. You won’t be surprised that elements of Reading Pictures and Inner Visions comes out during this and the other sessions.

“Her Point of View”
This program considers the question of whether accomplished women photographers project a discernable, particular point of view in their professional work that is due largely to their gender identity as women. While women are “the other” for fully half of the population, they nonetheless exist in a special subculture in that women’s status and roles in our society have changed in this century, especially since the 1970s. The psychology of stereotypes, in-group biases and prejudice apply fully in this case and accounts for many of the issues women explore in their photographic art. Images by Judy Dater, Nan Goldin, Tina Barney, Sally Mann, Rineke Dijkstra, Joyce Tenneson and Zanele Muholi form the basis for this presentation.

“Us and Them: Expanding the Range of Acceptance”
Us and Them refers to basic psychological processes by which we come to view people in the world as being part of “our” group – US – or everybody else – “them”. Not surprisingly, research shows that we like our people more than we like the others. This happens naturally and automatically but leads to the formation of categories, stereotypes and prejudice. When we look at photographs by artists who are part of subcultures different from ours, we carry all the same psychological tendencies with us to the enterprise. The photographs in this program are taken from the Spring 2015 issue of Aperture, titled Queer. The psychology studied in this program comes from Art as Therapy by A. de Booton and J. Armstrong. Integrating the two is one goal of this presentation. Expanding our range of acceptance is the other.

“Cindy Sherman through the lens of Identity”
This program is a journey through more than 30 years of photographs by Cindy Sherman. The extent of Sherman’s work is breathtaking, possibly unique in the annals of photography, and yet, for all the variations in her opus, the consistency of her themes is astonishing. Always, she plumbs the depths of the psychology of identity as it is shaped by the social influences in each era since the late 1970s. She consistently pokes and prods and digs deeply into the meaning of appearances and the special way that photographs reveal them. This presentation’s detailed look at nearly the totality of her work, will lead to better understanding of the many layers that every picture and series exposes to study.

“Judging 101”
The most frequently asked questions directed to me when judging are “Isn’t judging just a matter of personal opinion?” or “Do galleries, colleges and camera clubs evaluate pictures in different ways?” This lecture will examine the criteria used by many judges in academic and gallery settings and relate those to camera club/Federation judging strategies. Education, experience, exposure and talent are crucial elements in the making of a skilled judge. Education in the history of photography, experience with judging in several contexts, exposure to many galleries and museums, and talent for articulating photographic criticism in a constructive fashion — these elements are the focus of this lecture

“Modern Color Photographers of the 1970s
This lecture introduces the audience to the shifting currents in the realm of color photography beginning with the “straight color” photographers of the 1970s. This genre combines several previous classic aspects of photography: classic view photography, small camera street photography, and snapshot photography. It also holds deep ties to mid-19th century landscape painting and 20th century color field painting. Works by many of the very best color photographers of modern times are included and framed in their artistic contexts. Sometimes of the photographs touted by galleries and museums seem too “empty” or even “wrong” according to the usual standards. This talk takes a detailed look at portfolios from three highly regarded modern color photographers in order to discover what’s special in their genre. [Walker Evans, William Christenberry, Stephen Shore, William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz, and Richard Misrach]

“The Chelsea District Gallery Walk”
A walking tour of photographic galleries in the Chelsea district of Manhattan is a wonderful way to challenge your opinions about the definition of good pictures. This guided field trip will familiarize you with a host of issues related to the contemporary photographic scene. You will gain familiarity with the Chelsea district’s most illustrious photo galleries and have the opportunity to study, first-hand, the images being produced and exhibited by famous and up-and-coming photographic artists. You will learn how photographs are displayed in first-rate gallery settings and have opportunities to speak with staff members at those galleries, and much more. Tour must be arranged individually and can accommodate only about 15 people. Two Chelsea District Gallery Walks will be scheduled during the year. 

“A Virtual Gallery Tour”
Can’t make it to a real, live Chelsea tour? The Virtual Gallery Tour is meant to be a simulation of a walk through many of my favorite and important photography galleries in New York’s Chelsea District. Imagine that we start out with a good breakfast in a local diner and then set out walking on a course that takes us to as many galleries as time and energies allow. Along the way we discuss the work we are seeing, how the shows relate to all of our workshops and also how they push us to open our minds to even more discoveries, thereby increasing our range of acceptance for photography of all kinds. This virtual tour has an advantage over a walking tour however, because it includes written commentary by photographic critics and teachers, statements about the shows by the galleries themselves, and even statements from some of the photographers’ own websites. By paying attention to those writings we will learn how meaningful statements describing and interpreting new, complex photographic projects are constructed.

“Photography as Art”
Perhaps a better title for this talk would be “what do photographs look like?” Primarily an examination of the relationship between photography and photo-realistic painting, this presentation also examines the shifting historical definitions, within photographic circles, of what photographs should be. At the heart of the lecture is the fact that photo realist painters (a movement originating in the 1970s and continuing to today) often choose to paint canvases that look like photographs of the most mundane kind. Why? What do they admire so much about ordinary-looking photographs? At the completion of this talk, you’ll feel closer to the answer.

“Winning Pictures (Pictures that Win)”
Members of camera clubs are deeply curious about why some photographs win in competitions and others do not. “How can I make pictures that win?” is the implied question lying beneath the general curiosity. This lecture is my attempt to address this seemingly profound issue. In the end, however, this talk is about editing your work, a very important step in the process of delivering award-winning pictures. Most of us were never taught how to edit our work yet, in my years of experience on the portfolio review committee at Soho Photo Gallery, it is an extremely important step toward making and identifying pictures that win. At the completion of this presentation you will have a much better idea about how to look at and analyze photographs.

“Out of Focus”
Several contemporary photographers have been receiving critical acclaim for bodies of work consisting of large photographs which are, to put it bluntly, out of focus. Uta Barth, Bill Jacobson, Bill Armstrong and David Armstrong have made landscapes and even portraits, both in black-and-white and color, that share the superficial characteristic of lack of sharpness. This lecture will give you the opportunity to look at these works, think about them and talk about them. The artists who made them are motivated by several artistic and philosophical issues which I will discuss with you.

“Imogen Cunningham: In her own Words”
Imogen Cunningham was a wonderful woman who was actively photographing and exhibiting into her 90s. Thanks to the John Stevenson Gallery (now closed) in New York, a major retrospective her work was mounted in 2009 complete with an autobiographical video that was produced in coordination with the exhibition of her photographs at that gallery at that time. This presentation reviews some of the milestones in her career and presents the video which is narrated my Imogen herself. This is a women who was in the forefront of photography during its Pictorial period and who was a part of the small group of photographers surrounding Alfred Stieglitz at the turn of the century. After attending this lecture you will have a deep appreciation and knowledge about the life and times of Imogen Cunningham.