‘In Good Time’: Aperture’s Doug DuBois survey rewards a patient viewer
For the latest collaboration between the Aperture Foundation and the Hermès Foundation, Aperture’s New York gallery space presents ‘In Good Time: Photographs by Doug DuBois’. The first mid-career survey of the American photographer’s work, the exhibition includes an impressive collection of over 50 prints.
In one early series dating from 1984, when DuBois first began pursuing photography, he includes handwritten text on a white border. ‘I was trying to figure out how portraits could narrate,’ he explains on a gallery walk-through. ‘It helped me figure out how portraits could set up a story.’
It wasn’t long before DuBois had figured out how portraits narrate stories – without having to add text. Many of these portraits are included in the exhibition. They come from three distinct bodies of work: All the Days and Nights, Avella and My Last Days at Seventeen. The show’s curator, Cory Jacobs, credits All the Days and Nights as a particularly definitive project – a project that took over 20 years, and that Aperture published as a monograph back in 2009. For Avella, DuBois photographed residents of a Pennsylvania coal-mining town, and for My Last Day at Seventeen, his most recent project, DuBois spent five years in Ireland, focusing principally on teenagers in Cobh.
Referring to Dubois’ famously slow process (the reason for the show’s title), Jacobs says, ‘something becomes revealed if you’re patient’. In her opinion, those people who engage with his work get the same benefit. ‘We can’t stop time, but Doug slows it down for us.’