Gay Block’s 30+ year career as a portraitist is both well-known and respected. Her two previous books—Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust and Bertha Alyce: Mother exPosed—garnered much critical acclaim and have been exhibited widely both in the U.S. and abroad. About Love is a career survey of her most intimate and moving portraits, organized chronologically in an oversized book that reads similar to a family album.
Block explains that, “Through photography, I have learned about love. I hadn’t learned about love at home or in school. Photography formed and shaped me. I couldn’t have learned about love without photography, and I’m still learning.”
Equally important to her artistic process has been filmmaking. Several of her major bodies of still photographic work are also accompanied by a film that explores the subject. Five films are included on two DVDs: the entirety of Bertha Alyce (23:38), as well as A Big Gesunt (As Long as You’re Well)—South Miami Beach (28:56), Camp Girls (55:46), A Tribute to Spirit: The Beth Israel Experience (34:25), and They Risked Their Lives: Rescuers of the Holocaust (23:44).
About the Artist
Gay Block began her career as a portrait photographer in 1973 with portraits of her own affluent Jewish community in Houston. The ever-widening expanse of her projects followed both family lines, in “Camp Girls”, and the Jewish community, in “South Miami Beach”. Her approach to portraiture is motivated by the desire to move beyond superficial representation, often making extensive audio and film recordings of conversations with her subjects. Block’s multiple award-winning short film about her mother, Bertha Alyce, has been shown in over 25 film festivals and is included with her book Bertha Alyce: Mother exPosed. Her landmark work with writer Malka Drucker, Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust, both a book and traveling exhibition, has been seen in over 50 venues in the U.S. and abroad, including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, in 1992. Block’s photographs are included in museums and private collections throughout the United States, including the the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, and the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson.
About the Author
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Anne Wilkes Tucker is currently the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston where she has worked since 1976. She founded the museum’s Photography Department, which now has a collection of over 22,000 photographs. Curator of over forty exhibitions, she has published many articles and lectured throughout the world. She has been awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Getty Center. In 2001, in an issue devoted to “America’s Best”, TIME magazine honored her as “America’s Best Curator”. She was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Focus Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography in 2006.