The Centre National de l'Audiovisuel is hosting an exhibition of photos by pioneering American photographer Mary Frey.
Much of Frey’s work addresses the nature of the documentary image in contemporary culture. The exhibition at the CNA, which premiered in Cologne earlier this year, is titled “Real Life Dramas” and images take us to a small town in western Massachusetts, right in the heart of America in the 1970s and 1980s. The photographs appear to be documentary but are in fact entirely preconceived and set-up. Frey says their appearance is meant to hover somewhere between reality and soap opera in order to question the "truth" of the camera's vision.
Texts below each photo appropriate the language of popular dime store fiction and are oftentimes overblown or irrelevant.
Frey has received numerous awards for her work, most notably a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984 and two photography fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1980 and 1992. Her work has been exhibited extensively and is part of many public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Chicago Art Institute and the International Polaroid Collection.