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Virtual Exhibition

Art + design professor Richard Lewis presents INTERSECTIONS, a virtual exhibition. Guests are asked to register in advance to receive an access link via email. Professor Lewis will present an Artist Talk and hold a virtual reception on February 7 from 12:30-2:30 pm. Pay a virtual visit to INTERSECTIONS through February 21.


Over the past 40 years, I have created photographic work in many genres and in many media: darkroom and digital photographs, sculpture, video, missed media (painting, etc.). For what will probably be the final sabbatical project of my career, I have returned to the beginning, for a series of black and white street photographs that I call “Intersections”. In doing so, I take inspiration from many sources, from the 1848 painting by Gustave Caillebotte “Paris Street, Rainy Day” to the foundation photographic work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, including the seminal “Behind the Glare St. Lazare” of 1932. It is to this pioneer, above all, and to his notion of the “decisive moment”, that all documentary photographers, including Gary Winogrand, Lee Friedlander and William Eggleston, owe an enormous debt.

Using a digital version of Cartier-Bresson’s famous black Leica camera, I am attempting to capture the random connectedness of crossroads and intersections, where two or more streets bring together a serendipitous performance of vehicles and humans, passing momentarily in never-to-be-repeated patterns. But of course, it is the eye of the artist that organizes these patterns, freezing a moment to remind the viewer of the transience of life. In my own humble way, I am attempting that most difficult of freeze-frames, one that requires patience, study and a quick trigger finger. And in so doing, I set myself the challenge of the simple black and white photograph, classic and yet elusive.

During the course of my sabbatical, I have traveled to over 12 cities in four countries, documenting moments of serendipity, capturing the choreographed patterns of human interaction in some of the world's most famous (and over-photographed) places, trying to find original, new views of the familiar, and challenging myself to reimagine sights that are literally over-exposed. In this I have, as you might imagine, been only partly successful, but the work will continue for many more years, and the journey has been one of the most creatively rewarding experiences that I have yet encountered. In London, I captured a new generation of citizens in front of the Eiffel Tower, in Venice a ballet of photographers and tripods in the Piazza San Marco; in Cordoba, old and new modes of transportation framing the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos.

As Gertrude Stein apparently once said: “If you can do it, why do it?”. “Intersections” has been so far the most challenging project that I have undertaken, demanding patience, quick responses, and a belief in the power of design and composition to make sense of a chaotic world.

Richard Lewis has taught photography at Salem State University for 30 years.

When 5:00pm
Virtual Exhibition
Karen A Gahagan

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