Smoke and Mirrors: Photographs by Vance Gellert


Are those llama fetuses hanging in that market? Why is that frog being stretched out into a tortuous position? Why is that child lying nearly naked and covered in flower petals? What the hell is that guy smoking? These are questions you're likely to ask yourself when looking at local photographer Vance Gellert's latest exhibit of healing practices in South America. And they are, in fact, llama fetuses. Gellert, a trained pharmacologist, spent time photographing the frequently a-scientific rituals and supplements used and practiced in countries including Peru and Bolivia. The large-format photographs show the rich and vivid colors of the places Gellert visited and the scenes he witnessed. When viewed in a country with the latest medical technology and treatments (even if millions of people lack access to them), these photos look like they're straight out of a 1940s anthropology textbook. But, of course, that time-warp feeling is exactly why these images are so commanding. Gellert's work thrusts you into culture shock and forces you to grapple with the world's healthcare disparity. Oh, and it does not end well for the frog.
June 13-Aug. 10, 2008

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