Des Moines Art Center, 
Des Moines, IA 
September 1, 2023-February 18, 2024

Two curators have organized pairs of images in “Double Take,” inviting viewers to look twice for differences and similarities in these unique combinations of art.

The print gallery exhibition “Double Take” calls attention to the way photographers attempt to both announce and erase their presence in the final image chosen for print and presentation. Sometimes within the work of the same artist, curators Laura Burkhalter and Ben Easter have chosen pairs of images – one of which is a staged or posed photo and another that appears to be more improvisational or quickly-captured street photography.

In some cases, the line between the posed and the un-posed is clear, while in others the differences are much harder to spot. The comparisons and contrasts these visually similar pairs offer reveal the aesthetic and formal choices of the artist in both obviously directed images and those that might look like chance “lucky” shots at first glance—from lighting and framing to the choice of model and which look or movement to immortalize in the final print. Like the painter’s brushstroke or the sculptor’s carved surface, the photographer’s eye comes to the fore in every image in this gallery.

“Double Take” is curated by Art Center Senior Curator Laura Burkhalter and Guest Curator Ben Easter.

Artist Statement
Double Take challenges viewers to delve beyond the surface of seemingly similar photographs. Through pairings of images captured by different photographers, the audience is invited to take a second look and uncover both the similarities and differences within. Whether portraiture, architecture, landscape, or street photography, each pairing prompts viewers to explore the intentions behind the photographs. Was it a staged composition or a candid moment frozen in time? By encouraging a deeper examination, I hope to ignite curiosity and provoke contemplation about the stories behind each image.

I firmly believe that a powerful image is born from the profound connection between the photographer and the subject. It is through this connection that the essence of the subject is captured, transcending mere visual representation. Laura and I created this visual journey to explore the intricate layers of photography, unraveling the stories, intentions, and connections that lie within each frame. We hope viewers will embrace the power of observation and introspection and discover the hidden narratives that await. Our world is so divided right now - this exhibition feels like an opportunity to use art to close the gap of our differences and focus on our similarities.

Guest Curator Ben Easter

Using Format