‘Junk Yard’ photos preserve past in Davenport

In a new art exhibit, entitled “Joe’s Junk Yard,” Lisa Kereszi ART ’00 displays 12 photographs of her family’s Philadelphia junkyard business.
In a new art exhibit, entitled “Joe’s Junk Yard,” Lisa Kereszi ART ’00 displays 12 photographs of her family’s Philadelphia junkyard business. Photo by Maria Zepeda .

Lisa Kereszi ART ’00 has transformed the Davenport College Gallery into a junkyard.

“Joe’s Junk Yard” boasts 12 of the School of Art professor’s photographs, which depict various scenes of her family’s eponymous business in suburban Philadelphia. It pulls from a substantial body of work, produced over a 20-year period beginning when Kereszi was just 16. Kereszi said the particular images that make up the show are all drawn from her new book, “Joe’s Junk Yard,” which Kereszi described as both “a long project and a personal one.”

One photograph features a sign that warns, “USED TIRES ARE PURCHASED AT YOUR OWN RISK!” and another depicts a Nativity figure lawn ornament in the front seat of a vehicle bound for nowhere. In a third, an elderly woman — actually Kereszi’s grandmother, the wife of junkyard founder Joe Sr. — sits in a pose that seems far too elegant for the setting, a bag of Easter flowers on the seat next to her. Many of the photographs take on as their subject the building blocks of the junkyard itself, involving cars in various states of disassemblage and dilapidation.adding that viewing such a work in real life helped illuminate the principle.

The photographs reflect not only the physical realities of the junkyard and its environs, but the decidedly personal relationship Kereszi shares with it, which she explained at length during her gallery talk Monday. She discussed her frequent visits to the family business, its function as an early artistic inspiration and the way it served as an ideal foil for her burgeoning interest in photography.

But the focus of Kereszi’s talk was not limited to the junkyard, as she took pains to explore her vision of photography as a medium as well.

“Photographs are a way to preserve and collect. Photographs aren’t to be confused with truth,” she said, adding that they may constitute “an individual’s truth.”

News staff photographer Oct. 7.

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