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Best Art Show Orange County 2011 - 'Economy Portraits' at the Huntington Beach Art Center

During her stint as artist in residence at the Huntington Beach Art Center, photographer Gina Genis took a portrait of anyone who would pose for her against red, white and blue backdrops. She asked each one, "How has the collapse of the economy affected your life?" The myriad handwritten answers she received were layered onto the respective portraits, then printed and hung about the gallery, until the pictures took over one wall, forming a giant American flag 11 feet high and almost 19 feet long. The ingenuity and topicality of the project are nothing new to anyone who knows Genis or her work. Her compassionate photos in a recent Laguna Art Museum exhibit reflected a conscience sorely disturbed by the degree of people's isolation from one another, while the exhibit she curated for the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, "Wide Angle View," contrasted international photojournalists' gritty work with more personal photography that often focused on their home lives or social concerns. She's looking to tour "Economy Portraits" (as well as "Wide Angle View") at other galleries. Somebody with deep pockets should help a sister out.

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This work is very powerful and timely. Great, great topic.