Alec Soth's Archived Blog

July 12, 2007

Papageorge interview

Filed under: interviews,Papageorge,the sentence — alecsothblog @ 2:10 am

I interviewed Tod Papageorge on July 11, 2007

Alec Soth: The day after I started writing about your work online, we all learned of the death of John Szarkowski. At first I felt awkward about continuing to dig into your work and life. But in a way Szarkowski’s death makes it all the more meaningful. Your generation is so closely identified with Szarkowski. Can you talk about how he shaped you specifically?

Tod Papageorge: It’s difficult to untangle the past, of course. The easiest thing would be to suggest that John showed me, and other photographers, a kind of way to go, but, in fact, we were already going there, pushing and jamming each other, riding out, most immediately, the possibilities that Robert Frank’s great book had pointed to. What John really did was give the greatest imaginable sanction to all of this by throwing the weight of the most powerful art institution in the world—and his inimitable eloquence—behind us, and then expanding our sense of the possible through the remarkable shows that he put together.

Individually, his gift was to understand at some incalculable level what each of us was trying to do: just imagine, for example, this guy from the Minnesota woods tracking into Manhattan and being faced with the work, and person, of Garry Winogrand. And then through some emotional/intellectual identification—how? with what magic?—recognizing the radical brilliance and promise of Winogrand’s pictures. It’s still astonishing to me—and the list grows from there. In my particular case, the fact that he could look at a portfolio of my photographs and unfailingly pick out what I thought was, or might be, the most interesting or challenging, etc. of the group, thus allowing me to gather my underdeveloped thoughts to a greater focus, was a tremendous help, but this is what he did for everyone I knew who was bringing work into MoMA.

The fact, too, that he invited me to curate an exhibition, complete with catalog and essay, at MoMA was a tremendous affirmation for me. And I don’t doubt that that essay was instrumental in establishing me at Yale.

I think that slightly younger photographers such as Stephen Shore or (who I imagine was your teacher) Joel Sternfeld, would have a different take regarding the arc of John’s influence, in that they were just that much more distant from Frank, and therefore that much more open to the possibilities of the view camera, and then color, that John began to explore more regularly in his exhibitions of the early 70s.

AS: Recently Szarkowski began receiving attention for his photography. What is your opinion of this work?

TP: “The Idea of Louis Sullivan” is, I think, a great book, wielding text and pictures extraordinary well. Because it has cities, and shadows, all through it, it also strikes an entirely different set of chords than, say “The Face of Minnesota,” or John’s landscape work in general, does. In any case, because I’m blackhearted to some degree, I respond to that darkness more than I do the beauty of John’s landscapes, as gorgeous and full-hearted as they are.

AS: One of the things I recently learned about Szarkowski was his fascination with apples. Somehow this further enlarged my picture of the man. It sounds corny, but I’m wondering if you have any hobbies?

TP: Reading and listening to music: Mozart is my god, Haydn his tribune, Bach the god THEY worship, and Beethoven their sullen charge.

AS: Do you still read and write poetry?

TP: I’ll occasionally look at poets I already know, and try to read “The Oddessy” every year. But I don’t write any kind of poetry now.

AS: You’ve said that you see photography as ‘at least as close to writing as the other visual arts.’ Are you talking about a specific kind of writing (poetry, journalism, fiction)?

TP: Poetry, because it and photography can both be similarly condensed.

AS: Photography that aspires toward a literary experience seems to benefit from been seen in a literary context – namely, the book. I often say that there are ‘wall photographers’ and ‘book photographers.’ I’ve only seen one of your photographs in the flesh. It was lovely, but I’m still certain that you are a book photographer. Would you agree?

TP: Yes, I love the book—but you should have seen my recent exhibition in NY while you were there: the prints glowed (not through MY efforts, of course, but those of my printer, Sergio Purtell). After all, why bother to use a 6 x 9 cm. camera if you’re not going to make beautiful prints w/it?

AS: Which photographic books stand out for you as an example of literary photography?

TP: There are only a few, but, of course, they are also the usual suspects: “American Photographs,” “The Americans,” and, combining pictures and text, John’s “Idea of Louis Sullivan and Strand’s “Time in New England,” a great book.

As you’ve indicated here in this blog, I’ve tried to do something that I think is new in “Passing Through Eden,” and that is to follow an established narrative through the long opening of the book, and then trace out the residual ‘literary’ energies of that narrative through the rest of it.

AS: Just out of curiosity, what do you think of Bruce Davidson’s Central Park book?

TP: I think it reflects a commercial enterprise. (And I admire the recent Steidl book of his early work in the British Isles.)

AS: Unlike a novel, a series of photographs rarely tells a complete story. There isn’t the engine of narrative suspense pushing you from beginning to middle to end. I’m wondering if this was a frustration as you began assembling your Central Park pictures.

TP: No. As a reader of pictures, one wants the experience to be open-ended, I think, even in the face of some kind of narrative impulse.

AS: When was the editing complete? Did you make changes at the last minute?

TP: After months of ceaseless noodling with it on my part, Michael Mack, my editor on the book, and I got together (he was in from England) and finished it up. I’d pretty much completed the ‘Biblical’ section to our mutual satisfaction, and from there it was a case of clarifying a few knotty groups of pictures later in the book. It was a great, and invaluable, few hours.

AS: Now that it is in print, do you have any regrets?

TP: I WOULD change a few things in the sequence if I could, and also the small mistakes of copy editing in the text.

Central Park, 1989, by Tod Papageorge (click to enlarge)

AS: There is one specific image I wanted to ask you about. The man with the eye chart (p.20) is unbelievable. Do you remember taking the picture? Do you know what was going on?

TP: It is what you see. Who knows? It’s New York, after all. I have no idea why he had the chart there.

But let me add something here apropos of some recent discussion in this blog:

I have no real argument against so-called set-up photography, at least as a process. The fact that I’ve had many successful students doing it in different ways I think makes my case. I also think that the reason they’ve felt free enough to work in this way at Yale is because I profoundly believe in—and teach—the proposition that photography is inherently a fiction-making process. Don’t speak to me of the document; I don’t really believe in it, particularly now. A picture’s not the world, but a new thing.

That said—too briefly—my argument against the set-up picture is that it leaves the matter of content to the IMAGINATION of the photographer, a faculty that, in my experience, is generally deficient compared to the mad swirling possibilities that our dear common world kicks up at us on a regular basis. That’s all. Remember, T. S. Eliot made the clear, brutal distinction between the art that floods us with the “aura” of experience, and the art that ‘presents’ the experience itself. ANY artist, I feel, must contend seriously with the question of which side of that distinction he or she is going to bet on in their work. Obviously, I’m with Eliot—and Homer—in this, believing that the mind-constructed photograph almost necessarily leads to a form of illustration, the very epitome of aura-art.

All of which is to ask: what imagination, what choir of angels, what souped-up computer, could come up with that eye-chart and its desperate chartist?

AS: In 1974 you wrote, “Photography investigates no deeper relief than surfaces. It is superficial, in the first sense of the word; it studies the shape and skin of things, that which can be seen.” Do you still believe this to be true?

TP: How else can the photograph begin, but there? It’s this discursive descriptiveness that makes photography unique, and gives it whatever place it might have in art-heaven. We can follow all of this descriptiveness to emotionally moving places, of course, but we have to begin where and how the lens begins, literally tracing the lineaments of things.

AS: In the essay to Passing Through Eden you mention being particularly taken by a Brassai retrospective: “I felt the palpable presence of bodies and things.” You talk about how this led you toward using a medium format camera. But I’m also wondering if it led you to a particular subject matter. Brassai’s work had a lot to do with sexuality and temptation. During this time I understand you photographed at Studio 54. And certainly Passing Through Eden involves sexuality and temptation.

TP: In another essay somewhere, T. S. Eliot (and I haven’t had occasion to mention him like this, or nearly this often, in decades) coined the phrase “the disassociation of sensibility” to describe what he understood to be the separation, or even abyss, between feeling and intellect in John Doone’s poetry. What I felt I saw in Brassai’s photographs was a remarkable integration of those two things; in other words, a superb intellect (read his “Conversations with Picasso,” for example) unselfconsciously married to a profoundly sensuous apprehension of the world that expressed itself, in his photographs, as a perfect union of form and (dense literary) content. THAT’s what captivated me about his work, not sex per se, or sex perverse, but his great-hearted/great-minded reading of the physical world. I might add that, after seeing an exhibition of mine in Paris, his wife wrote to me to say that Brassai saw in me a “fils espiritual,” his spiritual son–a remark that I treasure.

Central Park, 1981, by Tod Papageorge

AS: You like to photograph beautiful women.

TP: Well, why not? Although I can’t really say that I like to do it: I have to. If you accept the idea that photographers, or some of them, are actually artists, then you have to look at their work less as a document of something than as a personal vision of the world. And my imaginary world, informed by music and books, as well as photography, is one in which beauty and some notion of ravishment are central. What more eloquent ‘objective correlative’ (Eliot again) for me, a man, to express that than women?

I’ve always felt that an artist is some kind of holy fool who is willing to be misunderstood in service to the larger goal of fully investing him or herself in their work. In other words, the issue is much less woman, or attractive women, or (dread word) voyeurism, than shaping an artistic vision suggestive, in many different directions—not just women, of course—of how rich and extraordinary beautiful the world might be.

Central Park, 1987-88, by Tod Papageorge (click to enlarge)

AS: Talk about the upside down pictures. When did this idea come about? How was it received? Did you exhibit these pictures?

TP: Well, speaking of ravishment, there it is, encountered with a man, a woman, and two couples. And that’s exactly what I was trying to get to, an almost-angelic transcendence coming on the heels of everything else before returning to a relatively wrung-out world.

Additionally, I wanted these pictures to ‘teach’ readers of the book—if they hadn’t learned the lesson already—that, “yes, this whole book has been willed into shape, it’s a made thing, a self-conscious artistic object where a picture might even be reversed to make a poetic point crucial to the meaning of it.”

AS: How were these pictures received?

TP: Generally, people have been disconcerted by these pictures, but that’s just a first reaction. I hope that, in time, they’ll come to be seen as organic to the whole book.

AS: I believe that no matter who you are, most people are going to say one sentence about you. “He’s the guy who photographs Weimereimers.” I think your sentence used to be “He’s the guy who hung around Winogrand.” Now it is “He’s the guy who runs the Yale program.” Or maybe, “He’s the prick who runs the Yale program.” Do you agree? Do you care? What do you want to be your legacy?

TP: Well, of course I dislike the one-sentence sum-up, as anyone would, or should: it leaves too much out. Garry Winogrand and I were close friends, not a god and his hanger-on. Sure, I direct the Yale program, but what does that mean apart from whatever the person saying it thinks about the Yale program—which will be incomplete and uninformed if they haven’t been through it? So, no, while I ultimately don’t really care, I’d also point out the obvious—that “the sentence” is a pernicious and profitless way of looking at things.

As for a legacy, I hope it becomes clear with time that everything I did—in my work, my writing, and even my teaching—was done passionately, out of a love of photography, to the furthest degree I could accomplish it.

AS: I know that you have a new book coming out from Aperture. Are there another dozen books planned after that?

TP: I have a completed maquette of work I made in Paris over the years, mostly in the 90s; also a group of early pictures from New York. Then there are California pictures, and any number of other projects.

AS: Are you shooting new work?

TP: As for current work, given the exigencies of teaching, family, and life, I photograph for the most part during the summer, primarily at Lake George, Stieglitz’s old stomping ground. Want to lend me your view camera?

  • permanent link to this interview here

November 12, 2006

More on Denis Cameron

Filed under: artists,interviews — alecsothblog @ 11:13 pm

Liverpool Railway Station, ©Denis Cameron

Last month I wrote a post about the photographer Denis Cameron. I’d come across Cameron’s obituary (he died on October 6, 2006) and was unfamiliar with his work. In response to this post I received an email from Denis’s son, Marc Cameron. Along with providing jpegs, Marc sent an additional obituary and an essay written by his father [Notes on a Continuing Life, Leica Magazine, Issue 3, 1980]. Lastly, Marc was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions:

Alec Soth: It would be terrific if you could provide some background info about yourself. Can you tell me a little about your family?

Marc Cameron: My dad had my sister and I later in life. I am 32 years old and she is ten years younger. Although we have different mothers and did not grow up in the same household, we have a good relationship. I live in London and work in publishing. Amber recently graduated from college and now lives in New York.

Alec Soth: In the obituary in The Independent, your father’s work is described as “the common denominator of the Prague Spring, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ayatollah Khomeini, Sophia Loren and Errol Flynn in a casket.” How aware were you of all of these different facets of his biography while you were growing up?

Marc Cameron: My awareness of his career began to develop in my early teens. Ilford boxes filled with contact sheets and negatives were spread around the flat and I spent hours poring over the images as a kid. He constantly read the papers and followed the news on the radio and TV. He was often able to cite personal experience with respect to conflicts and major political events around the world. Films we watched together often involved an actor or director he had known or photographed.

Buster Keaton, ©Denis Cameron

Alec Soth: Was your father proud of his achievements?

Marc Cameron: I would not say that he was proud of his accomplishments. He was aware that he led an interesting life but he was always humble about it.

Alec Soth: The same article describes your father as a ‘real-life Zelig.’ Beyond his presence at all of these major events, that description seems to suggest something about his personality (modesty or secrecy). Why do you think your father’s name is not as well known as some of his colleagues?

Marc Cameron: My dad was not interested in making a name for himself. As far as I know he never tried to promote himself by putting on exhibitions of his Hollywood photographs and the only exhibitions he ever organized involved his photographs from Indochina, with Cambodia usually being the focus. It was the story, doing something about the injustice that mattered to him, not what he stood to gain. He genuinely felt this way.

Cambodian Girl, ©Denis Cameron

Alec Soth: In Notes on a Continuing Life, your father writes about his ambivalence toward war photography. He wrote, “In truth, I have become uneasy about the reportage of wars. What is its effect on those who see the pictures in cozy homes thousands of miles from the scene? `Do they instruct, edify?” I’m wondering if your father ever shared this ambivalence with you?

Marc Cameron: We never discussed this subject. He did what he did because he had a sympathy for soldiers and the civilians caught in conflict. The thought that his work was making no impact on public opinion must have troubled him.

Alec Soth: In the same essay, your father writes, “Photographing large-scale violence imprints permanent scars on the photographer’s psyche…The wounds are hidden and deep and reappear without warning.” How aware were you of these wounds?

Marc Cameron: I remember that when I was young he often had nightmares and would clench his fists and shout obscenities in his sleep. The first time I experienced this was some twelve years after he had left Cambodia and a few years since he was last in a war zone. The nightmares stayed with him for the rest of his life.

He lost a number of friends and colleagues in Indochina. The result was that he dedicated much of his time trying to save people from war zones and succeeded on several occasions.

Alec Soth: Throughout his life your father returned to the fantasy world of Hollywood. This is such a contrast to his work as a war photographer. I’m wondering how your father felt about show business. Was his attraction financial or something deeper?

Marc Cameron: He earned a good living working as a stills photographer and coming from a humble background he was always appreciative of the opportunities this afforded him. The other side of it – he loved a good story. He wrote a couple of screenplays that, to his disappointment, never went anywhere.

Alec Soth: Along with his work in Hollywood, you father produced several documentaries for Iranian television and at one point began to work on a film for United Artists. How much do you know about his aspirations as a filmmaker?

Marc Cameron: I have seen two documentaries he made the late 1980s with the help of Dutch television. One is on euthanasia in the Netherlands (“Fear of Living”) and the other documents his return to Cambodia (“The Return”).

Alec Soth: On my blog there has been a lot of discussion about managing the difficult mix of parenting, travel and photography. I’m wondering if you would be able to share some thoughts on the topic.

Marc Cameron: In my case other factors were involved – it was not simply a matter of him being on the road. My feeling is that it’s difficult to be a good parent when you’re not around but meaningful interaction with your kids is equally important. There were periods when I didn’t see my dad at all but he is present in many of my fondest childhood memories.

Alec Soth: In Notes on a Continuing Life, your father writes, “Our work is to record our world and history will judge us from what we leave behind. Pictures will be our epitaph.” Do you know which photographs are your father’s favorites?

Marc Cameron: The photos that accompanied the article for Leica magazine and those he kept in view around the flat would make up his favorites. A few of his pictures made the cover of Life magazine. The most well-known of these was the picture of the Israeli soldier in the Suez Canal at the conclusion of the Six Day War.


  • to view more of Cameron’s work, click here

November 6, 2006

Stephen DiRado

Filed under: artists,interviews,the sentence — alecsothblog @ 8:56 pm

Lights Out, Dinner Table Series, Chilmark MA, July 7, 1998 ©Stephen DiRado

Until last week I wasn’t familiar with Stephen DiRado. A couple of folks had mentioned his name in regards to the discussion of underrated photographers. I looked up his website and was bowled over. While I don’t claim to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the medium, it is inconceivable that work of this quality and consistency hadn’t penetrated my consciousness sooner. Had I just spaced out or is Stephen DiRado the most underrated photographer in America? Within fifteen minutes of seeing his website I emailed Stephen in hopes of answering this and other questions regarding his remarkable work. Stephen responded with the same generosity of spirit that you can see in his pictures.

Alec Soth: My first question is about this issue of being underrated. Do you see yourself, your work, as being underappreciated in art and photographic circles?

Stephen DiRado: In my twenties I had the good fortune to show in a number of New England museums and galleries. People in the business of art appreciated my work, added with a few museum acquisitions, all helped gain me access to start new projects. Over the years however my primary concern has been the making of work rather than the marketing of it; this partially due to the manner in which it has evolved into very long term, ongoing, series, and partially due to my kind of obsessive commitment to my practice. From one perspective, I’d acknowledge having fallen off the circuit of what might be described in curatorial terms as “successful”. Thanks however to a few loyal collectors, as well as support from grants and fellowships, and my income from teaching, I have been able to continue producing new work without the constant chasing of gallery shows. In short I have been protective of my work and show infrequently. I will however be having a forthcoming exhibition of my JUMP series this winter at the DeCordova Museum. A project 6 years in the making that I feel with confidence is finished and ready for prime time.

Alec Soth: I’m wondering how much you think about the audience for your work. Is your audience yourself, your friends, Worcester, New England? How much do you care about having a larger audience?

Stephen DiRado: For the longest time I felt I was making photos that were accessible for just about any audience; pride myself that they work on many levels, and yes nation wide. There is something for my art historian friends, and something for my neighbor to identify. Today I’m not sure about that, I’m not sure about anything other than there is this obsession to keep making the photos, and along the way ask myself less questions before making the photo. In other words I’m not caring much about any audience, now I’m making photos for me.

Alec Soth: I’d like to know more about your obsessive practice.

Stephen DiRado: I am so happy when photographing. Making art is like piecing together an endless puzzle. The fun is always getting there. My wife, day one (30 years ago) understood that my projects are my love affairs. …My wife is very special and an angel to understand.

Alec Soth: The portrait on your website shows you with a group of students. I’m guessing that your role as a teacher is a large part of your identity. Can you talk about how teaching has shaped your development as an artist?

Stephen DiRado: I love my students. They keep my practice honest and in many ways they are my teacher. I’m also of proud the fact that they enjoy my practice without finding the need to imitate it. I truly feel if the day comes that I stopped making photographs, I in turn have no business teaching.

Alec Soth: In thinking about different approaches to photography, I often create dichotomies (with grayscales). For example, I think there are ‘book photographers’ and ‘wall photographers.’ While most photographers function in both realms, they have a tendency toward one approach or the other. Where does your approach fall on this spectrum?

Stephen DiRado: I’m very much in agreement with the notion of functioning in both zones. For most of my career I would have to say that I identify myself as a ‘wall photographer’: sticking firmly to the gallery wall as my primary point of contact with the viewer. Since the advent of digital imaging and (stable) printers, despite a continuing and resolute adherence to the 8 x10, silver gelatin, B&W tradition, I have become very interested in small run artists books. These started out simply as a way of explaining my practice to possible portrait subjects; but have now developed into more formal artist’s books which I produce in limited editions and pass onto my collectors. Or in the case of one specific project, Jacob’s House, Photographs 1987-1994, I made a limited edition of 250 books, hand bound. It is photo essay in honor of a deceased friend and primitive artist Jacob Knight. The book is broken down into 4 sections; Portraits of Jacob, images of his yard and house, and finally my still lifes using many items he collected throughout his tenure at this house. This was a love ode to a dear friend and I will never take on such a labor intense project again.

Alec Soth: Another dichotomy I use is ‘travel photographers’ vs. ‘home photographers.’ Clearly your work falls into the latter category. Worcester Magazine said, “”If you had to name only one photographer synonymous with Worcester, it would have to be Stephen DiRado.” Did you know early on that you were a ‘home photographer?” What is your feeling about this distinction?

Stephen DiRado: This is a complex question in my case and not sure I can make a distinction. It is impossible for me to make travel photos. I know, I tried and miserably failed. I come to realize throughout the years that if I’m not part of something then I have no business photographing it. I use my camera as a conduit to connect; to a community, a location or an idea. That can be said for my dual residency on Martha’s Vineyard and Worcester, frequent trips to see my father in a nursing home, and wherever dinners are shared with my community.

Alec Soth: There has been a good deal of discussion on my blog about dealing with the oft-conflicting commitments of photography and family. While I think travel photography exacerbates the problem, it is certainly not limited to travel photographers. Can you tell me a little about your family and how you’ve dealt with this issue?

Stephen DiRado: My family and wife do not know of a time in our history where my camera is not present. Because I work very quietly with the 8×10 and I’m somewhat invisible. I rarely set up shots but instead pause activities ever so briefly to make the photograph. For years I made photos at dinners at the beginning of the meal. Not a good thing, even a slight pause allowed foods the get cold. So now all my photos are made during and after the main course of a dinner. A long term subject and friend said once, “A dinner without participating in a DiRado photo, is a meal not quite complete. The presence of the camera, DiRado focusing under the cloth, a slight motion to direct a subject to the right, or maybe to the left, DiRado rearranging items on the table, film in, slide out, flashbulbs exploding; all affirm another dinner shared by all. ”

In the sad case of my father, residing in an Alzheimer’s unit at a nursing home, the camera is the last connection between the two of us. He recognizes the camera and poses for it. But only on good days.

Alec Soth: As a medium, photography is very limited. Because it is not time-based like literature or film, it is not good at explaining ideas or telling stories. The strength of photography seems to be its ability to be either scientifically precise or lyrically evocative. This is another dichotomy with yet another spectrum. Documentary work, for example, falls on the scientific side while Pictorialism would suggest a more lyrical approach. Part of the appeal of your work seems to be the seamless mixture of both sensibilities. I’m wondering where you see your work on the spectrum between precise documentation and romantic evocation.

Stephen DiRado: To this day elements of my work undoubtedly document the world around me: it’s not possible for example for me to direct the position of the celestial bodies I photograph, despite my decision to photograph them as they pass over the region in which I live. It is true that Bell Pond and Mall are comfortably within the definition of the documentary; portraits, capturing primarily the youth in the 1980s in a Central New England city. JUMP, was designed day one to be about the appearance of an individual’s body (poised or in motion) and expression (void of vanity) during the millisecond before or during a jump off of a bridge into the waters below. Not a documentation in the traditional sense but instead sort of a micro-document of a specific and repeating act.

A part of my narrative in all of my other series are time based. In the case of the nursing home, you can follow my father’s physical decline. My point of view; perspective, focus and choice of lighting are all emotionally charged elements reflecting my personal connections, or disconnections, towards my father throughout this time. Beach People are constructed in a similar fashion but of course resulting in less weighed imagery.

Dinners, the most complex narratives, work on many levels. The cast of characters are my immediate family, my extended and academic family, and people I meet whose appearance interests me in one way or another. Without a doubt this work is time based; styles, foods, aging subjects, changing environments date each image. But that is their only point of contact with any notion of documentary. More than any other project I am playing the role as director. Not only do I watch and react to the events that unfold at each table setting, I’m a participant. If there is one decisive moment (or duration of time) that best expresses the gathering, I will stop all activities to make the photo. I mostly turn towards films, film noir specifically, for inspiration when it comes to lighting. The drama is the easy part, it simply needs to be contained with my frame.

Alec Soth: I have a theory that everyone will say one sentence about an artist. “He’s the guy that photographs Weimaraners.” “She was one of Crewdson’s students at Yale.” “She took disturbing pictures of her children.” Etc. What do you think that one sentence is for you?

Stephen DiRado: Probably, “He’s the guy who photographed people naked.” I know, it is silly. But so many people seem preoccupied by the fact that hundreds and hundreds of people have posed naked for me throughout the years. I would love to be remembered for my dinner series. My hopes are they survive hundreds of years in a museum archive so people can look back at our culture and see how we lived, conversed and ate.

Alec Soth: No matter how many great pictures you take, you’ll probably only be remembered for one or two. If you died tomorrow, which of your images do you think will be remembered?

Stephen DiRado: If you are from Worcester, without a doubt, it is the gallery poster image used for Bell Pond 1983; three kids posing ankle deep in water at dusk. New England wide, more likely the image on the poster for my show at Worcester Art Museum in 1986. It depicts a young woman putting on make up in a mall setting. Both are early works. But I guess first impressions are indelible. Personally, I don’t think I’ve made that one decisive image as of yet. I can only hope.

Worcester Galleria, Venus, Mall Series, Worcester, MA 1986 ©Stephen DiRado

  • see Venus at the Mall 19 years later here
  • visit DiRado’s website here

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