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TO FEB. 13
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Washington-area photography aficionados will find the Fraser Gallery’s exhibition “Photography Only” to be the equivalent of an old stuffed couch—pleasing, but very, very familiar. Among its 12 photographers are several who recently made appearances in Fraser’s early 2001 show, “The Figure in Photography”: Tamaki Obuchi reprises her soft-focus nudes; Geoffrey Sinckler offers even stagier work than in the previous show (this time, he photographs a chained figure cringing in the shadow of a cross); and Karin Rosenthal contributes two images from a memorable series in which she photographs female bodies as if they were lush landscapes. Several other pieces in the show conjure up the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, including a male nude by the D.C.-based artist STROM, two high-contrast botanicals by Mitsuo Suzuki, and two supple nudes by Florentine-born Dianora Niccolini, whose biography notes—pointedly—that she began exhibiting such statuesque images three years before Mapplethorpe himself. Washington photographer Danny Conant contributes another impressive image from her overseas travels—this time, a photograph of three Asian women standing side by side behind a multipart window. But perhaps the most welcome return is by Maxwell MacKenzie, whose robustly horizontal images of old buildings in the West (Everts Township Schoolhouse, Minnesota, Summer 1992 is pictured) have made possible several brilliant exhibitions at the American Institute of Architects. Don’t expect any new directions from “Photography Only”; just be ready to savor some old favorites. On view from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, to Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Fraser Gallery, 1054 31st St. NW. Free. (202) 298-6450. (Louis Jacobson)