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Worcester Photo Exhibit Captures Drama of Individual Lives

Monday, January 14, 2013


"An American Love Story," Sarah Bilotta

A new art exhibition, entitled "This Narrow Distance," is coming to the Worcester Center for Crafts' Krikorian Gallery later this month, featuring the work of acclaimed photographers Stephen DiRado, Keiko Hiromi, Hank Hauptmann, Lindsey Camilli, Robert M. Johnson and Sarah Bilotta.

The show is curated by Louie Despres, a Worcester-based photographer and 2012 Worcester Arts Council Fellowship winner. An opening night celebration will be held Thursday, January 17, from 5:30-7:30p.m. and is free and open to the public. The exhibition will last through February 9.

“This Narrow Distance” unites six photographers who share deeply personal connections with their subjects.

“Utilizing their cameras with great lyricism,” writes Despres in his curator’s statement, “they capture the drama or solace within individuals that model in a studio, reside on the city streets, summer beach or suburbs.”

Moreover, Despres states, "I hope they take away a sense that “portrait photography” does not have to be limited to someone sitting in a studio in front of a camera, its parameters are as wide as you can imagine."

Despres was invited to curate a exhibit of portrait photographers for the Krikorian Gallery after being selected "Best in Show" at the Worcester Center for Crafts "Center Yourself" exhibition in 2011.

"I am mainly a street photographer and they wanted to do a show of portraits, but they left it open to me to interpret that any way I wanted to, which was very freeing. I have to give the Craft Center credit for allowing me, a person who has no curatorial experience, to follow my vision without any interference," he says.

Despres’ main purpose was to give talented artists from the Central New England area much-needed exposure. Their common goal is to simply celebrate humanity through their art, though they differ widely on chosen perspectives and techniques.

"I wanted six photographers who are fairly different in style but are similar in content," says the curator.

Among these photographers are those just beginning their careers as well as veterans of the field. Stephen DiRado, for instance, was recently awarded a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship for his photography.

"DiRado utilizes the flash to create a series of complex, black and white heroic and mythical portraits," saysDespres.

Sarah Bilotta's work, centered around the use of the American Flag, is meant to be challenging and thought-provoking to the viewer.

"This series entitled 'Tis of Thee' assesses the American flag as a bold and sometimes provocative symbol, while questioning the ambitions of American society. Stripped of personal identity, I place into the context of nationalism, several American characters, whose true selves are vague," says Sarah in her artist's statement.

Robert M. Johnson is a self-taught photographer who has made a hobby of shooting people candidly on the street. For him, one thing in an image is important above all else.

His artist statement states, "for me the quality of light is a major element in the making of a memorable image. A great street image can be solely about the light alone. Soft overcast light works well for street photography and quality light can work magic for a great black and white street photograph."

Hank Hauptmann also likes the idea of candid and action-filled street photos as a way to express his creative side.

"Because of my attraction to brief sidewalk observations of passing strangers, I like to work close to my subjects. As I’ve progressed, I’ve learned to appreciate the camera’s ability to freeze a seemingly banal moment and amplify it to become something else," he says in his artist's statement.

Works from all of these artists and more will be on display in the Krikorian Gallery at 25 Sagamore Road between January 17 and Febraury 9. The gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday, from 10a.m. to 5p.m. Also check out an artists' talk by Sarah Bilotta and Hank Hauptmann at 2p.m. on January 26th.


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