THE CONCEPT: Use Photography to build stronger communities:
Ten years ago, I undertook an experiment. I set up a pop-up studio in New London, and began taking dignified one-light portraits of people I met on the streets of the city. It was my first foray into the world of portraiture after twenty years as a commercial advertising photographer. I believed that a dignified portrait could change how a person perceived themselves, and that if I created enough of them, it could change how the community saw itself.
Portraits from the original Portrait of a City
The project was fabulous. I gave each of my subjects a digital print from the portrait session we had just finished. The prints became cherished items they shared. After creating about 90 portraits, many in the town wanted to create an exhibit of the work. So I put the work where I had found the people: on the streets. Murals covered the train station and adorned the streets, sidewalks, and gallery spaces. I filled the town with a reflection of its own people, and they loved it. The people, the town, and the media went nuts, and I was just thrilled. In fact, people saw themselves, their friends, and their neighbors in a totally different light.
4 of 100 images that filled the downtown
It has been ten years since that project began, and now it is time to once again celebrate the people of this city, and all that they have to offer. I am checking back in with the subjects of my original project, as well as with the people who have come to New London since the last project. With your help, we will be able to raise the funds to mount a citywide installation that will bring people together around a celebration of their common humanity.
Coming and going
PART ONE: THE ANNIVERSARY PORTRAITS:
As you may have guessed, not all of my original subjects are still in New London; ten years is a long time. People have moved as far away as Alaska. Some have passed away, while others have started new families. I am happy to say that I have found a good many of them. Of my goal of 30 subjects, I have completed 25 portraits. As before, I set up a small pop-up studio in town and arrange to meet my subjects there to take their portraits once again. I have five portraits left to go, and maybe more if I can find the people.
PART TWO: THE EYES HAVE IT:
Ten years have passed. A town is a living, breathing entity. New people, immigrants, are arriving and are becoming a stronger part of the region’s fabric. They are taking an ever more important role in the citys’ and country’s future and that change is important to acknowledge and embrace. I am making arrangements with churches and community groups to photograph individuals to represent various immigrant groups. I will photograph over 40 individuals. With this exhibit, I will focus on the eyes as “a window to the soul.”
One of 20 murals to be installed over empty storefronts in downtown New London.
Everyone is invited to the Thursday July 7 5:30pm opening to be held at the New London Garde Arts Center, 335 State Street, to be followed shortly by a reception at the MS17 Art Project, 165 State Street. You don’t have to contribute a cent to come – but you will love the experience even more if you do. Thank you!
Over 30 portraits will represent 25 different nationalities.
This public art installation is dedicated to celebrating our heritage as a country of immigrants benefiting from the individual genius and contribution that diversity brings.