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'In The Center of Things'

JACOB KONST/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Harold Jones, photography professor and curator, hangs a photograph for the upcoming Center for Creative Photography exhibit. The show, which opens Saturday, features works by various artists that have been associated with Jones over his career.
By Gabe Joselow
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 1, 2004
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Nearly 30 years after becoming the founding director of the Center for Creative Photography at the UA, Harold Jones - a man with an 11-page resumÄ and unforgettable eyebrows - is the curator of an exhibition about his own life.

Retiring from his position as professor of photography at the UA in May of 2005, Jones has been looking back on his life and selecting work for the show for more than a year.

"It's a very weird feeling to be working on your history," Jones said. "There's a certain aspect of it that I find uncomfortable, but it's very gratifying."

"In the Center of Things: A Tribute to Harold Jones," which opens Saturday, will exhibit photographs by various artists in the CCP collection that have been associated with Jones during different periods of his career. It just so happens that the photographers Jones has been associated with are some of the greatest photographers of the 20th century.

One section of the show is devoted to the photographers Jones worked with as director of Light Gallery in New York. The Light Gallery was a unique institution, as the first to exclusively represent and sell the work of contemporary, living photographers.

If you go...
CCP director Doug Nickel will discuss the center's future tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the CCP.

"We showed how their work evolved," Jones said.

Not only did Light Gallery exhibit the evolution of the individual artist, it exhibited changes in the medium as well.

Unconcerned with representing artists of any particular style or region, the gallery attracted a wide range of photographers. Among the 50 or so Light Gallery photographers represented in the exhibition are Alfred Stieglitz, Man Ray, Andre Kertesz, Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan. These photographers are not only significant to Jones; they also made remarkable contributions to the art of photography. To see them together like this is to see part of the history of photography in the 20th century.

"To see that (Light Gallery) is still remembered and had such influence is a terrific thing," Jones said.

When Jones left Light Gallery for the CCP in 1975, he brought his dedication to the living artist with him. At that point, the center was hardly anything but an idea, the brain child of then-UA President John Schaefer and photographer Ansel Adams, operating out of a used dress shop. The center now houses the entire archives of 60 artists and about 80,000 individual works.

After two years as director of the CCP, Jones moved on to being a full-time professor of photography.

"The man teaching photography retired," Jones said, "and I thought God was sending me a message that I should go to the art department and teach and leave the center."

Jones devotes much of the exhibit to the work of UA faculty members who helped to shape the CCP as well as the photography program. The exhibit demonstrates its diversity again by including work from former faculty members, such as W. Eugene Smith, an acclaimed master of photojournalism; Todd Walker, a pioneer in digital imaging and videography; and Jones' own work along with the work of current faculty members, such as Keith McElroy and Carol Flax.

To begin a series of lectures on the exhibition, current CCP director Doug Nickel will discuss the center's future tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the CCP.

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