Tertium Quid

Pictorial narratives created from vintage press photographs
by Murray Moss

Exhibition on view July 16 through August 15, 2014

ter·ti·um quid: noun, Late Latin, literally, third something; a third party of ambiguous status

"There was a man and his wife and a tertium quid" - Rudyard Kipling

A press photograph is defined by its function, which is to infuse a text with visual meaning in the telling of a news story, Murray Moss writes in his introduction. Assembled from his own unique collection of archival, annotated, and published prints that were acquired in the past two years from the photo morgues of a moribund newspaper industry, these original photographs are for the first time shown publicly without the newspaper text they were originally assigned to accompany. Rather, I have paired these images, at my own discretion, with other orphaned press images, putting them in dialogue, and in the process creating for each image a new narrative a new life, a third story, a tertium quid. 

In turns humorous, striking, mysterious, and always surprising these photographs reveal an undiscovered side of their personality through these pairings. Unwittingly, they have become starring characters in new narratives that are both revealing and delightful. Some are duets, or fugues. Moss writes, Some dance a pas de deux. Many are six degrees incarnate. And others are conversations between strangers who share a bench in the park and discover common ground. 

Reproduced at the actual size of the original photos, with both the front and the often annotated back presented with equal importance, these artifacts, retired now from their labors, are akin to those exceptional functional objects that have served their time and have later come to be appreciated, even coveted and exalted, for the extraordinary qualities that lie outside of their original function. 

Tertium Quid is a personal tribute by Murray Moss to a lost newspaper culture, a love letter to the often unsung press photographer, and a transformative elixir to the power of the image.


On view  July 16 - August 15, 2014
Opening Reception  Wednesday, July 16  6 - 8PM
RSVP  info@edelmanarts.com