SMITH ANDERSEN NORTH is pleased to present the gallery's first solo exhibition for photographer Leon Borensztein, EXTENDED FAMILY. The exhibition features work from his celebrated American Portraits series along with portraits of Japan's Yakuza and Generation X, made on assignment for The New York Times Magazine and shown here in a unique color edition for the first time.
When Borensztein immigrated to the United States in the late 1970s to study photography at the San Francisco Art Institute, he paid his way by traveling the suburbs with his mobile studio, making portraits in people's homes for cut-rate prices. What he gained in the process, racing from one job to the next (sometimes as many as 30 a day), was access to the living rooms of strangers. It was in these rooms that Borensztein noticed the discrepancies between the promises of the American Dream and the realities of most working class families.
Borensztein will also be premiering a color edition of his award-winning portraits of Japan's Yakuza and Generation X, made on assignment for The New York Times Magazine in 1994. In this project, he brings his sensibility to Tokyo's underworld. As if staging a casting call, Borensztein uses his backdrop to highlight the theatricality that both separates these groups from mainstream Japanese society and draws them together as distinctly identifiable clans with their own rules of inclusion and exclusion--extended families in their own right.