Exhibition of Stephen Wilkes’ Photographs Celebrates Release of New Book "Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom"

Share Article

"Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom" is a collection of large format color photographs of the abandoned buildings on the south side of Ellis Island. Photographed over five years (1998 – 2003), the haunting images evoke the ghosts of the millions of immigrants who passed through these halls on their first stop in America.

Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar, is pleased to present “Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom”, an important exhibition featuring the documentary project of leading contemporary photographer Stephen Wilkes and celebrating the publication by W. W. Norton of a major new book of the same title.

The exhibition opens with a public reception for the photographer on Friday, October 6, from 5 – 7 PM. The exhibition continues through December 10. Signed copies of the new book are available from the gallery.

"Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom" is a visual history of the benign neglect of the medical facilities and dormitories of the historic immigration center, which at that time, unlike the Great Hall, had not yet been restored. Wilkes’ photographs capture the haunting beauty of this century old building. Using natural light, Wilkes painstakingly photographed the peeling paint, rusted iron, broken glass and halls with wind-strewn leaves and created an ethereal diorama that is captivating and compelling. Brilliant sunsets on the water outside these buildings shed spectral light that is both alluring and eerie.

Twelve million people passed through Ellis Island. Approximately one percent were turned away for health reasons. Wilkes's powerful images of the underbelly of the island—a purgatory between freedom and captivity—ask us to reflect on the defining experiences of millions. With that rare combination of an eye that sees far beyond the lens with the technical acumen of a master draftsman, Wilkes takes us on an unforgettable journey through our collective past.

Stephen Wilkes is one of the leading location photographers in the United States, recognized for his work in the corporate and advertising industries, for his fine art photography, and for his international projects.

Monroe Gallery of Photography was founded by Sidney S. Monroe and Michelle A. Monroe. Building on more than four decades of collective experience, the gallery specializes in classic photography with an emphasis on humanist and photojournalist imagery. The gallery also represents a select group of contemporary photographers.

Gallery hours are 10 to 6 Monday through Saturday, 10 to 5 Sunday. Admission is free. For further information, or to schedule an interview with Stephen Wilkes, please call: 505.992.0800 or visit http://www.monroegallery.com.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Sidney Monroe
Visit website