Carl Bower

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Tue, 11/16/2021 - 11:30am to 12:00pm
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Joseph Gallivan interviews photographer Carl Bower

On Tuesday, November 16, 2021, Joseph Gallivan interviews photographer Carl Bower. His show of portraits Private Fears runs now at Blue Sky Gallery until Nov. 27, 2021. Bower talks about finding his subjects, how he talks to them about their deep, specific fears, and how he then arranges to shoot their portrait another day. He talks about how he chooses location and setting, and the importance of silence when connecting with his subjects, some of whom he will sit with for hours. Although Carl Bower focuses mostly on people living hard lives near his home in Denver, Colorado, he manages to bring out the humanity and vulnerability that hides behind fear and pain.




November 4 - 27, 2021

Blue Sky is pleased to announce Private Fears an exhibition of photographs by Carl Bower.



Carl Bower’s series Private Fears, like most of his projects, was a direct outgrowth of personal experience. Bower spent several years struggling with a companion turned stalker. Restraining orders were undermined by wavering resolve, and his personal life was a disaster. Yet he kept it hidden, too embarrassed to share his situation with anyone. The longer it went on, the more ashamed he became, leading to further isolation. The experience left him wondering what others were hiding, what they were afraid to tell anyone for fear of repercussions. He knew how well a facade can be maintained, that we cannot trust what we see. Our fears are held closely, are intensely personal, and often isolating. Bower asked complete strangers to share their fears and be photographed. For some, the experience is cathartic. This series examines the dichotomy between who we are and who we appear to be and how little we know of those around us, and what they carry.



Carl Bower (American, b. 1966) is a photographer exploring intimate portrayals of private experience, through both documentary work and portraiture. Frequent themes include perceptions of beauty, coping with adversity, personal identity within prevailing social structures, and the relationship between trauma, shame, and isolation. His images are made with the intention that the medium not be part of the message, but rather a transparent conduit between the subject and viewer. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, his work has been exhibited at the Georgia Museum of Art, the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Annenberg Space for Photography.

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Joseph Gallivan has been a reporter since 1990. He has covered music for the London Independent, Technology for the New York Post, and arts and culture for the Portland Tribune, where he is currently the Business Reporter. He is the author of two novels, "Oi, Ref!" and "England All Over" which are available on


This show was recorded on Zoom video conferencing software on Nov. 5, 2021


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