Pomfret students showcase photography

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Mon., Jan. 20, 2014
Grace Carapezzi and Annie Clay stand beside Clay's photo at the Silver Circle Gallery. Photos by D. Coffey.
Grace Carapezzi and Annie Clay stand beside Clay's photo at the Silver Circle Gallery. Photos by D. Coffey.

Photographs lined the walls of an exhibit room at the Silver Circle Gallery on Jan. 17. They were digital images that Pomfret School students and instructor Lindsay Lehmann had taken and then artistically altered with the help of papyrus, cotton, thread, acrylic, pastels and plastics. Some pictures had been burnt or cut away.

The point, said Lehmann, was to go beyond two-dimensional design to change the meaning and intention of the photograph. She used the work of Iranian photographer Shirin Neshat to inspire her students. Lehmann wanted her students to think beyond the images they took, to make them more emotional and exciting.

Yellow push pins crowded the center of a poppy. A latex bubble came out of the mouth of a woman chewing bubble gum. Pearl-shaped beads were glued to the shot of a darkening horizon. The white acrylic paint streaming out behind them formed shooting stars. The edges of a photograph featuring a candle were burned. Threads formed a web in the close-up of a spider. 

“There’s is more to the art of photography than just creating a pretty picture,” Lehmann said. “Young photographers come to realize that a piece of work may never be finished and creating is a part of life-long exploration.” Seventeen students in Lehmann’s Advanced Photography and Advanced Photography Two-Dimensional Design classes showcased their work. 

Illustrator and graphic designer Eric Spencer called the works smart and methodical. “What they added makes sense of the imagery,” he said. “There was real thought to the work. The photos give a quick sense of spatial illusion. You’re almost not sure where the additions were made.”

Tiny white lights came out of a photograph of a child holding a sparkler. A coil of thin copper wire emphasized a young girl’s cascading red hair. A pearl covered bead was one young woman’s earring.

Annie Clay used her photograph, “Middle Eastern Medicine,” to underscore the stress of a high school senior’s life with its uncertainty and challenges. She used fellow student Grace Carapezzi as a model. Carapezzi’s long hair covers half of her face. Silver push pins puncture her cheek, chin and forehead.

“I wanted to show half of her face, like a negative balance,” Clay said. 

“Kids need to connect with real life experiences to understand why anything is important,” Lehmann said. “They need to find creative outlets to safely explore their emotions. They’re kids, but they’re adults, too. Putting stuff on a wall is pretty scary. They followed through from concept to creation to public consumption.”

Silver Circle owner Carly Martin said the show was important for both students and the community at large. “This is a fantastic opportunity,” she said. “It gives students a frame of reference to have their art showing next to professionals. It teaches them about being passionate about pursuing art.”

"Altered” will run until March 18. Silver Circle Gallery is also featuring the "4th Annual Figurative Exhibit." The show features paintings, drawings, and sculpture from nine local and regional artists. That show runs through March 2. For more information, go to www.silvercirclegallery.com.

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