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The three photographers showing jointly at the Goethe-Institut—Iris Janke of Germany and Kaitlin Jensco and Sara J. Winston of the U.S.—base their works on self-identity. Each does indeed present a deeply personal vision, but as a group, their offerings are uneven. Winston provides depressing visions of disorder—matted hair on a shower soap dish, spilled drinks on carpets and flannel shirts—leavened only by a low-key image of a rocky woodland. Janke’s works, meanwhile, cover several walls in various sizes and arrangements, many of them mundane; the most impressive is a hazy, pastel-hued portrait of a young child in a field, looking like a future memory made prematurely real. Jensco takes a Cindy Sherman-esque approach to posed female identities, chronicling an anonymous figure in a series of tightly circumscribed, lower-middle-class, domestic settings. The environment she uses is drab, exemplified by an archaic touch-tone phone with a long, spiral cord that can reach all around a cramped kitchen. Her most poignant image (shown) captures her female subject leaning over the kitchen sink, her back to the camera and surrounded by an ethereal glow—a pose that unmistakably echoes the iconic George Tames photograph of President John F. Kennedy leaning against his desk in the Oval Office. The Kennedy image is titled “The Loneliest Job,” a label that fits Jensco’s gloomy vision perfectly.
“On the Lakeshore…and Other Stories” is on view 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays to Jan. 27 at Goethe-Institut, 812 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 289-1200