TO JULY 3
At Kensington’s Banning & Low gallery, unheralded photographer George Pickow finally receives his due. A native of New York (and still residing there), Pickow was once a filmmaker and book illustrator, in addition to taking documentary photographs. He was well-ensconced in the midcentury folk-music scene (his wife is folk singer Jean Ritchie) as well as the artistic/literary scene in New York. A selection of photos taken of artists and musicians is included in bins at the gallery, but the ones chosen for hanging are more than a dozen black-and-white images chronicling a mining town in Kentucky. The pieces, made mostly in the late 1940s, follow the then-dominant format of photojournalism—the Life magazine photo essay—focusing on the life of the local Baptist church. Pickow photographed energetic praises and blessings, a preacher in full windup, and the washing of parishioners’ feet (pictured). Most memorable are the images of groups of white-clad men and women hip-deep in a river, on their way to being baptized. Above all, Pickow’s photographs are respectful, betraying no condescension despite his Northeastern upbringing—a refreshing reminder of common ground so often missing in today’s ultra-polarized age. The show is on view from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, to Sunday, July 3, at Banning & Low, 3730 Howard Ave., Kensington. Free. (301) 933-0700.