Opening tonight!! James Payne’s 3D American Portraits at UCLA

Payne in Studio

Please join us tonight, May 8th 2014 at 730pm for James Payne’s 3D American Portraits on view at UCLA’s Kerckhoff Hall Art Gallery.

As part of the Cultural Affairs Commission at UCLA, the show will feature many of James’ 3D viewers with a range of photos dating over the last 39 years.  The show will be up through May 17th.

Jim Payne began American Portraits in 1976, while living in an apartment complex in Southern Illinois. All units in the complex shared the same floor plan and they all had white walls — painting the walls was prohibited (though some did). Payne noticed how uniquely the inhabitants configured their environments. Their personalities and values became revealed within these differences. He began documenting this by photographing friends and neighbors in the complex, creating in 3-D. In 1978, Payne returned to Chicago and continued the project.

His vision to create this body of work—a study—is to span 40 years, capturing a visual record that will reflect geographic, economical, professional, and lifestyle choices. Now in its 39th year, Payne has completed more than 325 portraits. Using a custom tripod mount, Payne allows his subjects to choose their own setting and
pose in their own environments. Viewing devices permit the 3-D effect of the color transparencies, allowing the viewer to feel as if they are actually inside the subjects habitation, able to experience the ambiance, the scattered personal minutia on the coffee tables, the choice of attire, and their ideal self-portrayal.

Payne’s work consistently presents tableaux that are authentic recordings rather than arranged compositions. He works in his environmental portraits to reflect the rapport he has with his subjects, insisting on preserving the naturalness of the surroundings. He does not direct these portraits, preferring to minimize his influence on the subject’s choice of location within their domicile. Evidently, the primary concern is what he—and the viewer—could discover rather than what he could create in an image.

The Art Series strives to promote the arts on campus by educating, informing and inspiring students through a variety of artistic disciplines. This series is dedicated to working with student organizations and artists to curate the Kerckhoff Art Gallery and showcase new exhibitions every quarter. Gallery exhibitions highlight the talent of students and local artists in the mission of creating dialogue on relevant social, political, and cultural issues. (

James Payne 1978 Hoffman Estates, IL

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