Jocelyn Lee Youth

Jocelyn Lee Youth

In Jocelyn Lee’s large, color photographs of young people, time has stopped in a manner that seems most apparent, the subjects locked forever in the transition to maturity. In one, a girl pauses at the edge of a diving board to look back suspiciously at the viewer.  In another, two girls kneeling in a clearing appear to create an impromptu science experiment involving a dead beaver.

These are images that may inspire each of us to reflect upon our own youth; but while
the captured moments may feel familiar, their essence is hard to describe. The viewer might be left wondering how a simple subject and process are capable of rendering objects that transcend a mere cataloging of person and place. The portraits conjure questions whose answers remain elusive. The figures never appear other-worldly; in fact they give the impression of being very rooted to their surroundings. Perhaps part of the mystery is the degree to which the figure and its context depend on each other. The photographs seem imbued with a meaning that we sense is significant, even though it’s troubling not to be able to quickly define what it is about these children that holds our interest.

The fascination of these portraits also resides in the simple pleasures of the visual experience: the immeasurable beauty of skin, of fabric, of differences, of uniqueness. We have the luxury of gazing upon an occasion that is without self-consciousness among the three parties: the subject, the photographer and the viewer.

Jocelyn Lee was born in Naples, Italy. She received her BA in philosophy and visual arts from Yale University, and her MFA in photography from Hunter College. In 2001 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1996 her work, The Youngest Parents, was published by DoubleTake Books and The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in collaboration with Robert Coles and John Moses. In 2003, in conjunction with her exhibition at The Bernard Toale Gallery, she received an award for The Best Emerging Artist Exhibition in New England, from the International Association of Art Critics/USA. She has exhibited nationally, most recently at Bernard Toale Gallery, Boston; Bates College Museum of Art, Augusta, ME; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA; Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME; Jackson Fine, Atlanta, GA; LFL Gallery in New York; Portland Museum of Art in Portland, ME; and the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University.

Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Center for Documentary Studies at Tufts University, Boston; and in Maine, the collections of
Colby College Museum of Art; Bates College Museum of Art; and the Farnsworth Art Museum. Her work has appeared in many national publications including The New
York Times Magazine, DoubleTake and Harpers. Lee is currently a faculty member at Princeton University.

Jocelyn Lee
Untitled, 1998
Chromogenic color print