Ladies and Gentlemen: Shane Lavalette

by Nayeli Rodriguez

Next week is the last chance to stop by the Carpenter Center and see Shane Lavalette's "Ladies and Gentlemen" exhibit in the photo gallery downstairs. Though it's a relatively small exhibit compared to the sprawling ACT UP: New York show on the first and third floors, Lavalette's collection of found studio portrait cards from the 19th century is still an enticing look at formerly everyday objects that have taken on new value and significance with time.

Consisting of 12 male and 12 female portraits "Ladies and Gentlemen" also juxtaposes age and youthfulness, masculinity and femininity, and finally individuality and uniformity in the layout and selection of the photos.

Some of the images bring to mind the buttoned-up, prematurely dignified aesthetic of vintage yearbook photos. Looking out at viewers with alternately longing and pensive regards, the subjects also offer a glimpse into a pre-facebook society that is equally image-conscious as today's.

"Shane Lavelette: Ladies and Gentlemen" is on display in the Carpenter Center's basement photo gallery until November 29.