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The idea of returning to an old subject many years later is a venerable photographic trope, as shown in the current National Gallery of Art exhibit, “The Serial Portrait.” In “Revisit: The Inconstancy of Being,” nine photographers exhibit pairs of photos—-one they took years ago, and one they took recently.
In some, the differences are subtle. Rania Razek, for instance, updates an image she took of a woman in a large hat sitting on a bench; in 1995, she used infrared black-and-white film, but by 2012, she had to go digital, since the original medium had all but ceased to exist.
But most of the participating artists go bolder. Peter Karp offers two images of a decaying painting outside an old East German building known as the “Palace of Tears,” where East Berliners bid farewell to temporary visitors (below). The first is a traditional black-and-white image; the second shows the same subject with touches of color, cleverly created by weaving strips of two separate prints together. Leena Jayaswal made double-exposure portraits of her maternal grandparents as they were in the 1940s and 1995, then performed the same trick in images of herself and her husband. But the most wistful pairing is the contribution of curator Iwan Bagus, which includes side-by-side images taken on a beach (top). The first features a dancer in the middle distance partially obscured by a feather costume; the second simply shows three feathers that were shed on the beach.
Through Nov. 17 at Studio Gallery, 2108 R St NW. Wed- Fri 1-7, Sat 1-6. (202) 232-8734.