All right, let's come clean. Jennifer Silverberg is the staff photographer for this very paper. Normally, she'd be sitting about seven feet to my left as I type this, but she's out hanging her show, Jennifer Silverberg: Selected Projects, at the Sheldon Art Galleries (3648 Washington Boulevard; 314-533-9900 or www.thesheldon.org). The show opens with a free public reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 8, and you should go check it out. But why should you make a special trip to see the work of a photographer you already see week in and week out, you ask? Um, because Silverberg's work is frickin' awesome, that's why. And also because you haven't seen most of these shots. Many of them are from her non-work life, such as her trip to Nicaragua and her frequent trips to the Mexican-American migrant-worker community in Missouri's bootheel. Instead of these photos serving to illustrate and support a narrative in the RFT, the photographs themselves are the story. Silverberg's personal work has a lyrical quality that draws you in, opening little windows into other people's lives. It's not a voyeuristic feeling; it's more like a serendipitous introduction to a friend of a friend. Part of this magical effect stems from Silverberg's undeniable empathy she's genuinely interested in everyone she meets but there's also a unique talent at play. Somehow, she always takes the picture at the moment of the subject's greatest humanity. People seem to be at their best when Silverberg trips the shutter. Trust me on this, I see more of her work than anyone it's the curse of proximity. Maybe two or three hundred times a week, she asks me to look at some photo, and always with the same "What do you think of this?" For someone so talented, she has a perplexing need for constant validation. (Just kidding, Ho-bag.) The fact is, Silverberg believes the world looks better through a viewfinder, and she's on a mission to prove it to the rest of us. Jennifer Silverberg: Selected Projects remains up through Saturday, September 8, and the gallery has regular hours Tuesday through Saturday. And no, I did not write this because she tricked me into posing in my underwear for a boudoir shoot last year. It was my decision to do that shoot. I have a beautiful body, and it needed to be beautifully photographed.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: June 8. Continues through Sept. 8