Jeffrey Silverthorne - The Precision of Silence


Jeffrey Silverthorne is an American photographer, you can see his retrospective exhibition at the Antwerp Fotomuseum. This exhibition is literally a rollercoaster of emotions, Silverthorne photographs a lot of different subjects like sex, death, mental illness and even vacation trips.

His earliest work (early 70s) exhibited are portraits, he photographs travesties and friends, often the people in the pictures are naked and there is a very sexual atmosphere, this is something that will always come back in his photographs.

My favorite series of photos are his “morgue” series, the photographs are horrible because he takes picture of dead people at the morgue, but at the same time they are just beautiful. This series is like strange and dark, but beautifully haunting and poetic. My favorite portrait is one of a sleeping woman, she looks so peaceful and it’s an amazing photograph.

I love how Silverthorne will create such intimacy in his photographs. Another thing that I like is how his portraits can be shocking in a way but Silverthorne doesn’t shock on purpose like Araki would do with his pornographic photographs. He has two other series that are very close to the morgue series. One of them is a series where he photographs missing persons potters on the streets. The other series he took at a psychiatric hospital next to the morgue, those photographs are very different from the others he took because he was not allowed to photograph the faces of the patients. They are portraits without being portraits, if that makes any sense.

Sadly enough after this series he had one other that I loved “Tex-Mex” but after this one he lost me a little bit. His new photographs are very theatrical, his older portraits were staged too but I feel like he crossed something in his latest photographs. They do not feel intimate anymore. He takes a lot of self-portraits with very young ladies, he explains this is because he wants to emphasize the fact of him getting older. I’m not convinced he did a good job with that…

Be sure to go check out the exhibition, it’s running for two more weeks in Antwerp! Silverthorne is an amazing photographer, you won’t regret it !

You can find more information on the website of Fotomuseum (Antwerp) 



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