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Valley Photo Center to open new exhibit

SPRINGFIELD - The Valley Photo Center is pleased to present the work of three photographers - Frank Ward, Robert Aller and David Prifti - at the Valley Photo Center. The exhibit will run from Feb. 16 through March 19. There will be a reception for the artists on Feb. 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. Gallery hours at the Valley Photo Center are Tuesdays through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., or by special arrangement. Both Ward and Aller teach photography at Holyoke Community College. Prifti teaches high school photography in Concord, Mass. Ward will be presenting photos from his Asia Central project, of which he says, "I think of this portfolio as travel writing with a camera except that my pictures contain few scenic vistas or landmarks. In Central Asia, the environment is ancient and the horizons are open to all that globalization has to offer. In my pictures, evidence of the Silk Road with mountain views or vast steppes is sparse. Ghengis Khan's empire remains buried in the dust. My interpretation is of the present. What is life like now, how does regional culture manifest, and where is our interconnectedness? These questions linger as my camera contemplates what is before me." Ward will present work from his "Strange Twilight" series of photographs. "The works in this exhibit are but a few from a larger portfolio made during a recent excursion to the northeast outer islands of Newfoundland, more notably the Island of Fogo off the coast and the Clift's of Twillingate," he said. "In this work I photographed not just the experience of being in a cultural landscape reminiscent of the traditional ways of life in rural Ireland. But, with its Irish descendants, remote gardens, open grazing fields, or 'commonage,' the strange beauty of the twilight, and the poetic feeling of simply being witness to a way of life before it all fades from existence was a mesmerizing search to know whom these people were." Prifti will show his wet plate collodion work, photographs of students of his in Concord. "Using an eight by 10 inch view camera and the 19th century wet plate collodion process, I make tintype portraits of students, friends and acquaintances," he said. "My interest lies in the power of a photograph to describe my subject clearly and with power. What begins with my interest in the physical appearence of the subject develops into an evolving exploration of the sitter and myself. There is power in the tension of modern subjects being rendered in a historic process, pulling them out of time, reexamining the past as well as the present. "Making these portraits requires exposure times ranging from 20 seconds to two minutes. It is in that collaboration that I find the power of this medium, as if the commitment required of both me and the sitter is present in the final image," he continued. "It allows me to make connections with my subjects in more powerful ways than I am able to do with contemporary materials." The Valley Photo Center is located in Tower Square, 1500 Main St., in downtown Springfield.

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