End of the Road

Photographs by Brea Souders Selected poems by Lia Purpura

Souders began making the photographs that comprise End of the Road in March 2020 while living in rural upstate New York. The black-and-white photographs capture candid glimpses of visitors walking to the cul-de-sac at the end of a gravel road viewed through the mesh of a window screen or through curtains of leaves and branches. Her subjects variously walk, rest, hold hands, kiss, and stop to reflect, completing a series of ordinary actions during an extraordinary year. Photographing these strangers—who became unknowing companions—was an almost daily ritual for the artist, generating creative inspiration during a year spent sheltered in place.

The passage of time unfolds in these photographs through seasonal changes and through the contemplative perambulations of Souders’s subjects. Leaves sprout and sunlight casts bold shadows, while in turn, sweaters and mittens replace airy dresses and shorts. Some visitors return to the End of the Road repeatedly, while others make a momentary, but singular, impression. The photographs thus convey a heightened awareness to one’s surroundings and to nature that has become a common experience during the pandemic. In their intimacy, they express the longing for human connection that has defined our shared isolation. Each photograph is a chance encounter that sparks curiosity about the subject, what brought them to the End of the Road, and where they will go from here.

This virtual presentation features images from End of the Road alongside poems by UMBC writer-in-residence Lia Purpura from her book It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful (Penguin, 2015). Purpura has noted of this collection of poems, “I am interested in paying attention to the act of looking itself, an act which is almost always full of contradiction, surprise, and mystery.” This statement could equally describe Souders’s photographs, which, through their clandestine framing and sharp observation, elevate quotidian details to totems of coincidence. Likewise, Purpura’s attentive poems abound with incident, engendering expansive ideas from the brief container of their form. Here, photographs and poems, selected in collaboration between artist and author, walk together in tandem, illuminating shared themes and inviting additional connections and reflections.

*Images and text scroll automatically below. Hold your cursor over an image to pause scrolling and to move backwards and forwards in the sequence.

Public Program

Virtual Artist’s Talk: Brea Souders and Lia Purpura in Conversation
12:00pm (noon EST)
April 22, 2021

Register here (via Webex)

Black and white photo of man in overalls walking down dirt roadBlack and white photo of person in a white dress holding a glass, partially obscured by tree limbBlack and white photo of person walking behind foliageBlack and white photo of person jogging along dirt roadBlack and white photo of young man holding an animal to his chestPoem: Probability Most coincidences are not miraculous, but way more common than we think – it’s the shiver of noticing being central in a sequence of events that makes so much seem wild and rare – because what if it wasn’t? Astonishment’s nothing without your consent.Black and white photo of a man carrying a ladder in natureBlack and white photo of couple kissing viewed through tree limbsBlack and white photo of woman with face obscured by foliageBlack and white photo os silhouette of a figure holding a dog leashBlack and white photo of woman in shorts walking alone on a gravel road; she grasps her arm with her handPoem: Sunday Signs come. For what I don’t know. To be one in a vastness without meaning, except for making something of it, except for it being a conversationBlack and white photo of two women walking down the road; one wears a shirt that says Black and white photo of a group of youthsBlack and white photo of a man walking, wearing american flag print shortsBlack and white phot of a woman walking in shadows of trees and leavesBlack and white photo of two men walking through foliagePoem: Relativity Shade can chill or relieve and sun comfort or oppress, depending on what you need to shed or retain, which is nothing as simple as sin being dark, and grace, light. Filaments in a web can be both invisible and bright. Each thing’s its own partner, each always both, depending on where you stand, not so central, not so always commanding.Black and white photo of a woman standing amidst foliageBlack and white photo of a woman obscured by leavesBlack and white photo of a couple holding hands and walking in natureBlack and white photo of two figures standing on the road looking into natureBlack and white photo of person bent over to look at something in the roadPoem: Red Leaf It’s precious little warmth the trees are giving, muddled with last greens, addled with vines and that red, a new cry at dusk – oh mind where all things freshly darkened meet.Black and white photo of man walking alone in natureBlack and white photograph of man walking on snowy roadBlack and white photograph of two men walking on snowy roadBlack and white photograph of two men walking on snowy roadBlack and white photograph of two girls walking on snowy gravel roadPoem: Future Perfect Where you were before you were born, and where you are when you’re not anymore might be very close. Might be the same place, though neither is as slippery as being here but imagining where you will have been – that point where things land, are finished, over, and gone but not yet.

Brea Souders is a visual artist working primarily with photography. She has exhibited in the US and internationally, including solo exhibitions with Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York, Bruce Silverstein Gallery and Abrons Art Center in New York. She has received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, a residency with the Millay Colony and a fellowship with the National Arts Club. Features on her work have been published in the New Yorker, ARTnews, the Jeu de Paume Magazine, and New York Times. Souders’ work is included in many survey publications, including The Photograph as Contemporary Art, Thames & Hudson; Feelings: Soft Art, Rizzoli and Photography is Magic, Aperture.

Lia Purpura is the author of nine collections (essays, poems, translations.) A National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, she is a Guggenheim, NEA, and Fulbright Fellow, and has been awarded four Pushcart Prizes, among others. Her work appears in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Orion, The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, Agni, Emergence, and elsewhere. She is the Writer in Residence at UMBC, and has taught at conferences, workshops, prisons, and in communities and MFA programs throughout the country. It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful (poems) and All the Fierce Tethers (essays) are her latest collections.

End of the Road/ Hope

To celebrate the online exhibit of End of the Road and the collaboration between artist and poet, the AOK Library Gallery has produced a limited edition booklet, End of the Road/ Hope. Designed by Peggy Re, the publication features a selection of images from Souders’s series along with a poem by Purpura.

Register here to receive a free copy of End of the Road/ Hope. Booklets will be produced in a limited edition of 500 copies and mailed in May 2021.


Zachary Z. Handler: ERRANDS

In response to stay-at-home orders issued by the State of Maryland on March 30, 2020, Baltimore-based photographer Zachary Z. Handler created ERRANDS, a portrait series documenting the shared shelter-in-place experiences of people around the globe.

Handler conducts portrait sessions remotely via FaceTime, and motivated by a desire to provide care while maintaining connections, every session begins with a conversation. Handler then places the iPhone on which his subject appears in unique tableaux created within the confines of his home using everyday objects and materials close at hand. The resulting photographs capture the joy realized through discovering something remarkable in an ordinary place and through connecting with others despite social distancing. Each ERRANDS portrait depicts more than one person:

in addition to the sitter, the artist’s presence is reflected in the objects and environment in which he stages the photographs. Handler has, to date, photographed 275 people from locations near and far: from Baltimore to San Francisco, from Germany to India. Like the pandemic, the project is still unfolding.

Inspired by the mobile phones on which the series depends and the improvisational aspect of the sessions, this presentation references the children’s game of ‘telephone,’ in which a message is whispered from one participant to the next. Each photograph in this presentation is related to the one preceding and following it in some way, whether through color palette, subject’s gesture, or an object that repeats across frames. This chain of association invites the viewer to participate in the search for connections.

Public Program

Virtual Artist’s Talk: Zachary Z. Handler
12:00 noon
February 18, 2021

Register here (via Webex)

* Click images in gallery above to enlarge

Zachary Z. Handler is a photographer based in Baltimore, Maryland. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he was a Linehan Artist Scholar, in 2003 and a Master of Arts Administration from Columbia University Teachers College in 2005. In addition to his work as a visual artist, he has constructed a career where the fields of healthcare and art education intersect to provide community and access programs to individuals who are D/deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind. He has also taught arts education classes nationally and internationally to D/deaf and Hard of Hearing youth in foster care.

Behind the Scenes of ERRANDS

Portrait depicting Samuel on iPhone
View of slide projector in the dark
Detail of Samuel's set

Inspiration & details from the set of Samuel’s portrait, from the series ERRANDS

Inspiration for Samuel’s portrait came from a scene in the 1977 Italian horror film Suspiria. The artist projected onto the set a slide modified through collage.

White curtains illuminated by a square of light
Detail of Samuel's set
Illuminated ens of slide projector
Detail of Samuel's set
Detail of Samuel's set
A scene from the film Suspiria

Constructing the set of Andy’s portrait, from the series ERRANDS

Andy, seen on an iPhone, chats with Handler as the artist places a Big Mac, carton of french fries, and large drink around the iPhone on which Andy appears. In a nod to artist Boo Ritson, the McDonald’s meal is covered in wet, dripping white paint.

Portrait of Greg
Close up view of knit shirt

Outtakes from Greg’s portrait session, from the series ERRANDS

Portrait of Greg
Greg, as seen on iPhone
Portrait of Greg

The presentation of this exhibition and public programming is supported by an arts program grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Charlesmead Initiative

In 2019, the Library Gallery received funding from UMBC’s Charlesmead Initiative to create an arts education program for K-8 Baltimore City youth. Curators began a collaborative project with museum educator Willa Banks to develop a curriculum emphasizing hands-on learning and engagement with original artworks through the gallery’s exhibition program and in the holdings of UMBC’s Special Collections.

During the spring 2019 semester, 90 students from Liberty Elementary and Frederick Elementary schools visited the gallery for an interactive tour of the exhibition Antonio McAfee: Through the Layers, Pt. 2 led by the gallery curators. Students enjoyed putting on 3D glasses to view McAfee’s work, saw rare nineteenth-century photographs from UMBC’s Special Collections that the artist manipulates in his digital photographs, and created collage portraits to take home with them. They shared what they learned over snacks, reflecting on what photographs can tell us about history and how portraits reveal (and conceal) personal identity.

Due to COVID-19, the final two class visits scheduled for March and April were canceled. Curators are now adapting the curriculum for the Spring 2021 semester.


Antonio McAfee : Through the Layers, Pt. 2

The Magician, 2019
Pigment print, 3D image with 3D glasses
© Antonio McAfee, Courtesy of the Artist

January 27–March 13, 2020

Since 2011, Antonio McAfee has been making work influenced by historical portraiture of African Americans in the The Exhibition of American Negroes. Organized for the 1900 Paris World Exposition by W.E.B. Du Bois, the display functioned as a legislative, economic, and photographic survey of middle-class African Americans living in Georgia from 1850–1899. This ‘counter archive’ challenged racist assumptions steeped in pseudo-science, presenting proof of the vitality and upward social mobility of southern blacks. For his exhibition at UMBC, McAfee builds upon his earlier work to curate a selection of photographs from our archives that will be displayed alongside new works inspired by the historical images found in UMBC’s Special Collections.

Antonio McAfee is a photographer raised and based in Baltimore, MD. He received his BFA in Fine Art Photography from the Corcoran College of Art and Design, an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Arts and Culture Management from the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa). Recent exhibition venues include University of Maryland, College Park’s Stamp Gallery, George Washington University’s Gallery 102 (Washington, DC), Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), and the Walters Art Museum (Baltimore, MD.)

The Gem, 2019
Pigment print, 3D image with 3D glasses
© Antonio McAfee, Courtesy of the Artist
Young Man and Dog, 2019
Pigment print, 3D image with 3D glasses
© Antonio McAfee, Courtesy of the Artist
Third (3), 2019
Pigment print, 3D image with 3D glasses
© Antonio McAfee, Courtesy of the Artist
Robert Smalls, 2019
Pigment print, 3D image with 3D glasses
© Antonio McAfee, Courtesy of the Artist

Public program:

Thursday, February 27, 2020
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Art, Race, and the Archive:
Antonio McAfee in Conversation with Shawn Michelle Smith

Installation views

The presentation of this exhibition is supported by an arts program grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support comes from the Libby Kuhn Endowment Fund, as well as individual contributions.


Experimentalist: The Art of Robert W. Fichter

Early Fitcher Drawing
Robert W. Fichter
Winged Flying Dog, 1979
Polaroid print
22 x 27 1/8 in.

August 28–December 18, 2019

Experimentalist: The Art of Robert W. Fichter presents the first retrospective of the artist’s career in over thirty years. Drawn from his archive at UMBC, the 55 works in this exhibition created between 1962 and 2006 highlight Fichter’s exploration of the human condition across photography, printmaking, and painting. Fichter employs shifting moods and mediums as well as wit, humor, and satire to deliver trenchant critiques of war, nuclear proliferation, and environmental disaster. Firmly rooting his expressive compositions in a strong sense of place—the surreal landscapes of his native Florida—Fichter presents a singular vision of humanity on the brink.

Medical Analysis, 1983 
Silver dye-bleach print 
Nature Returns, 1989 
Silver dye-bleach print 
Peace in the Kingdom, 1975 
Cyanotype, tempera, watercolor
Bones to Baby Gene Pool
“It’s just like life flashing before your eyes,” 1982  
Color lithograph
A New Photograph of a Successful Weapon of War, 1970 
Cyanotype, gum bichromate print 
Edward Teller Sez We Did It to Make the World Safe for Democracy! 
from the series Bones and Rock Garden Drawings, 1980  
Lithograph, watercolor 

Public Program

September 24, 5:00pm,

The Art of Robert W. Fichter:

Talks by Eileen Cowin, Adam Straus, and Tom Beck

The presentation of this exhibition is supported by an arts program grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support comes from the Libby Kuhn Endowment Fund, as well as individual contributions.


El Sueño Americano/ The American Dream

5 Minutos archival inkjet print
Tom Kiefer
5 Minutos, 2018
Archival inkjet print
©Tom Kiefer

February 4 – May 23, 2019

El Sueño Americano/The American Dream features 59 photographs by Arizona-based artist Tom Kiefer depicting everyday objects carried by migrants detained after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Considered non-essential by U.S. Customs and Border Control and thus discarded, these personal belongings–from gloves to rosaries and wallets to water bottles–were valued by their owners for their utilitarian, spiritual, or sentimental value. In Kiefer’s graphically striking photographs, these items serve as traces of individual stories that humanize the current migrant crisis.

Tom Kiefer
Heart Assembly,2018
Archival inkjet print
©Tom Kiefer
Used with permission of the artist
Tom Kiefer
Archival inkjet print
©Tom Kiefer
Used with permission of the artist

Public Program

5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Artist Talk with Tom Kiefer

Reception to follow
Free & open to the public

Installation Views

The presentation of this exhibition is supported by an arts program grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support comes from the Libby Kuhn Endowment Fund, as well as individual contributions.


Depth of Field: Acquisitions to UMBC’s Photography Collection, 2008-2018

Todd Forsgren
Adelaide’s Warbler (Setophaga adelaidae), 2009
From the series Ornithological Photographs
Inkjet print
Accession no. P2016-07-001
© Todd Forsgren, used with permission

August 29 – December 19, 2018

Depth of Field presents approximately one-hundred images acquired over the last ten years by UMBC’s Photography Collections through generous gifts from donors and artists. The photographs on view highlight the breadth and depth of the collection and illustrate the range of forms, technology, and artists that historically shaped the medium and are presently impacting its ongoing evolution.

Artists included:

Laurie Brown, Kristin Capp, Clarence Carvell, William Eggleston, Donna Ferrato, Robert Fichter, Todd Forsgren, Peggy Fox, Sally Gall, Ralph Gibson, Penny Harris, Sam Holden, Irina Ionesco, Walter Ioos, N. Jay Jaffee, Brian Jones, Nate Larson, Alen MacWeeney, Mary Ellen Mark, Dorothy Norman, David Seltzer, David Seymour, Steve Szabo, Barbara Traub, Peter Turnley, Robert Von Sternberg.

two women in subway
N. Jay Jaffee
Woman and Young Girl in Subway, 1951
Gelatin silver print
selenium toned Accession no. P2012-17-012
© The N. Jay Jaffee Trust, used with permission
young man standing
Studio of R. Yamamoto, Yokohama, Japan
U.S. Sailor Earnest Estens, of the U.S.S. South Dakota, early 20th Century Cabinet card,
Accession no. P2016-01-014

Barbara Traub
Free Cloud, 1995
Gelatin silver print
Accession no. 2013-02-016
© Barbara Traub, used with permission
portrait of a young woman
Lotte Jacobi
Marlene Dietrich, 1929
Accession no. P2013-31-014
© Lotte Jacobi Collection, UMBC
Abandoned house in the field
Steve Szabo
Goat House, Wolf Trap Creek, 1976
From the series Eastern Shore
Platinum print Collection 254
© Steve Szabo, used with permission of the artist’s estate
interior of an abandoned building
Steve Szabo
Interior, Christ M. E. Church, 1976
From the series Eastern Shore
Platinum print
Collection 254
© Steve Szabo, used with permission
portrait with flowers and bird
Robert Fichter
Dürer with Red Flowers, from the series Florida Photogenesia
1984 Silver-dye bleach print
Collection 132
© Robert Fichter, used with permission

bird stuck in web
Todd Forsgren
Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus), 2009
From the series Ornithological Photographs
Inkjet print
Accession no. P2016-07-006
© Todd Forsgren, used with permission

Installation Views


Aftermath: War is Only Half the Story

April 2 – May 25, 2018

The end of war does not mean peace. It is simply the end of death and destruction. Every story of war includes a chapter that almost always goes untold – the story of the aftermath, which day by day becomes the prologue to the future.

This exhibition presents images by over fifty photographers and is a ten-year retrospective of the work of the groundbreaking program The Aftermath Project, founded to help change the way media covers conflict.

Justyna Mielnikiewicz
Justyna Mielnikiewicz
A Ukraine Runs Through It
Two Gypsy sisters, Ruslana, 16, and Milana, 19, take an evening stroll along the Dnieper River. Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine. April 2014.
Juan Arrendondo
Juan Arrendondo
Everybody Needs a Good Neighbor
Angél, 14, and Daniel (right), 16, members of the ELN Che Guevara Front pose for a picture at their camp in Chocó. The Che Guevara Front operates on the Pacific coast of Colombia patrolling important corridors to allow the export of cocaine to the Pacific Ocean and into Mexico. February 17, 2004.
Philippe Dudouit
Philippe Dudouit
Sahel—The Dynamics of Dust
(From left to right) Bibi, Al Hussein, Mohamed and Akli are part of a Tuareg rebels music band, founded by the Niger Movement for Justice, a primarily Tuareg militant group, to spread their message all over the Sahel region. In the 1990s, as the first rebellion took place, another Tuareg band became famous as far away as Europe. Northern Niger, 2008.

Public Program

4:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 19, 2018

War Is Only Half the Story:

Sara Terry, photojournalist & founder of The Aftermath Project

Photojournalist Sara Terry will discuss the constellation of issues facing communities following the “resolution” of armed conflict, focusing on the work of The Aftermath Project. A groundbreaking non-profit organization founded by Terry, The Aftermath Project seeks to change the way media covers conflict through grants awarded to working photographers, exhibitions, and educational outreach.

Free & open to the public

Support for the presentation of this exhibition at UMBC is provided by the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Friends of the Library & Gallery, the Libby Kuhn Endowment, and individual contributors.

War Is Only Half the Story is originated by The Aftermath Project, Los Angeles, and toured by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California.


Our People, Our Land, Our Images

Laguna Pueblo (b. 1925)
Lee Marmon
Laguna Pueblo (b. 1925)
Laguna Eagle Dancers, 1962
Black-and-white print

January 29 – March 18, 2018

Opportunities to view indigenous peoples through the eyes of indigenous photographers are rare and recent. This photographic exhibition features the work of indigenous artists from North America, Peru, Iraq, and New Zealand. Distinctive in its historical reach, the exhibition includes newly discovered 19th-century trailblazers, members of the next generation of emerging photographers, and well established contemporary practitioners.

Our People, Our Land, Our Images has been carefully constructed as a first person, indigenous account. Reflecting contemporary trends, the photographers and their subjects vary in style, from straightforward documentary accounts to aesthetically altered images combining overlays and collage. The variety found in the exhibition conveys the plurality of the indigenous voices and their concerns. The photographs are united, however, in how they convey their makers’ connections to the land, community, and traditions.

Ultimately, the multiplicity of perspectives represented by the exhibition and its texts sustains an open-ended experience that will actively engage audiences as they analyze how “the camera, in the hands of indigenous visionaries, becomes a tool or weapon that possesses the power to confront and deconstruct stereotypes, politics, and histories.” Our People, Our Land, Our Images provides insight into the variations in and history of bicultural identity. Further, the exhibition demonstrates the longevity and continuing vitality of native traditions of photography and answers the overdue and continuing need to expand the knowledge of indigenous self-presentation in photography.

Peña Bonita
Apache/Seminole (b. 1948)
Skywalker, 2006
Color print
Sama Alshaibi
Iraqi/Palestinian (b. 1973)
Olives from Gaza: The Bitter Dream, 2004
Digital print
Erica Lord
Athabaskan/Inupiaq (b. 1978)
Untitled (I Tan to Look More Native)
from the series Tanning Project, 2006
Inkjet C-print
Shan Goshorn
Cherokee (b. 1957)
Pawnee Woman in Field from the series Earth Renewal, c. 2002
Hand-tinted, double exposed, black-and-white photographs

Public Program

6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Artist’s Talk: Shelley Niro

Niro, who received her MFA from the University of Western Ontario, is an award-winning multi-disciplinary artist and member of the Six Nations Reserve, Turtle Clan, Bay of Quinte Mohawk.

Installation views


Man, Idea, Image: Photographs of Men from the Mark Rice Collection

Anderson & Low
Y, 1994
Gelatin silver print
©Anderson & Low, courtesy the artist

August 30 – December 21, 2017

This exhibition presents images of the male body in contemporary photographs from the Mark Rice Collection. Engaging the complicated dynamics of looking at the male form, the myriad meanings, narratives, metaphors, mythologies, fears and celebrations of the male body are contemplated in the context of the history of art broadly, and post-Stonewall culture and the AIDS crisis specifically.

Frank Yamrus
R.J. Bronze, 1994
Gelatin silver print
©Frank Yamrus, courtesy the artist
Vincent Cianni
Chris, Shelter Island, c. 1990s
Gelatin silver print
©Vincent Cianni, courtesy the artist
Bobby Coleman
Allegory, 1996
Gelatin silver print
©Bobby Coleman, courtesy the artist
David Teplica
Untitled (from Rapture series), 1992
Gelatin silver print
©David Teplica, courtesy the artist

Public Program

4:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 7, 2017

Exhibition Talk: Dr. James Smalls, Professor, Visual Arts, UMBC

Dr. James Smalls will speak on The Mark Rice Collection and the Homoerotics of Photography after Stonewall.

Exibition Views