Daily Art Moment: Valentine’s Day

Sage Sohier, Gordon and Jim with Gordon’s Mother Margot, 1987, pigment print, 15 9/16 x 23 in. horizontal b&w photo with hot flash depicting 3 figures seated on a floral couch, the central male with his right arm around the elderly woman and left arm reaching out to male seated further away who is grasping it in both hands.

The Feast of St. Valentine’s Day has been celebrated in many different ways for well over a thousand years. No matter how you may feel about our contemporary version of Valentine’s Day, which tends to center romantic love, this can be a helpful reminder that love and connection are critical to our humanity. Photography has a much shorter history than St. Valentine’s Day, but it has documented all sorts of expressions of love since the 1840s, and we have many wonderful examples in PAM’s permanent collection. I believe that some of the best photographs centering love are those that we make ourselves to share with our families and friends. Have a look through a photo album or your cell phone photos today—you likely have many of your own photographs featuring community and connection. I hope they bring you joy today and remind you that you are loved.

Julia Dolan, The Minor White Curator of Photography


Suzanne Opton, Soldier: Jimenez—365 Days in Iraq, Fort Drum, New York, 2005, c-print, 18 x 14 ¼ in. Closely cropped vertical b&w photo of a soldier turned to the viewer’s right while his partner’s head is next to his and both hands tenderly positioning his chin revealing a wedding band.
Unknown photographer, Snapshot of Couple Standing in Front of Window, 1960/65, gelatin silver print, 4 ¾ x 2 ¾ in, sepia-toned outdoor vernacular photo of a couple wearing vintage clothes in front of a window. Male figure wears white shirt and dark slacks and holds a cigarette in his right hand, left hand around the shoulder of a woman in a patterned dress. Photographer’s shadow is visible in bottom of frame.

Sage Sohier (American, born 1954), Gordon and Jim, with Gordon’s Mother, Margot, San Diego, 1987 (negative); 2014 (print). Pigment print, 15 9/16 × 23 in. The Blue Sky Gallery Collection; Gift of the Artist, 2015.8.1 © Sage Sohier

Suzanne Opton (American, born 1950), Soldier: Jimenez—365 Days in Iraq, Fort Drum, New York, 2005. Chromogenic print, 18 × 14 1/4 in. The Blue Sky Gallery Collection; Gift of James and Susan Winkler, 2007.44.4 © Suzanne Opton

unknown photographer, Untitled (Snapshot of Couple Standing in Front of Window), 1930/1965. Gelatin silver print, image: 4 3/4 × 2 3/4 in. Gift of Peter J. Cohen, 2017.26.58

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