Saturday, March 21, 2009

installing my Active Elders exhibit

On Thursday Mary Herbeck, the curator of the Ellen Kayrod Gallery in Detroit, and I got my photo collage completed and hung. We would have gotten some of the forty-two 12"x18" photos hung too but we ran out of the velcro fittings they required. Mary had thought we could use another substance to hang these photos that are mounted on foamcore, but it turned out they were too heavy. Apparently she was able to hang two walls on Friday and said there was so much traffic coming in and out of the gallery that she finally had to close the doors. After my having been taking photos of these elders for over nine months, there's lots of curiosity about whose portraits made the final cut. Actually it was my anticipation of this heightened interest that inspired me to add the collage of eighty 4"x6" photos to the show. I wanted as many persons as possible to feel included. I was fortunate to find the perfect poem by the great African-American poet Langston Hughes to post beside the collage. It goes:


I been scared and battered.
My hopes the wind done scattered.
Snow has friz me,
Sun has baked me,

Looks like between 'em they done
Tried to make me

Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'--
But I don't care!
I'm still here!

by Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

On Monday I'll be going back to the gallery to continue helping Mary hang the show. There was a bit of a problem with three photos that needed to be replaced due to some minor imperfections, but Maria, the printer who has been doing all my work, made a gigantic effort and managed to accomplish the task this afternoon. Today I also completed my Photographer's Statement that will be mounted on the wall of the gallery, so I am finally finished with my responsibilities. YIPPEE!!! The exhibit opens with a reception at which my women's singing group will perform--I'll be singing with them too--on Friday from 12:30-2:30 pm, so we're in good shape.

This is my Photographer's Statement:

Photographs are NOT the experience itself; they are mere glimpses into a moment that passes as soon as you’ve “captured” it with your camera.

What you see on the walls of this gallery are glimpses collected over the months I’ve been privileged to share with these amazing women and men who carry the history of our country’s best and worse times within the cells of their being.

How grateful I am for their openness, teachings, kindness and contagious love of life. Photos are nice but personal experience is everything.

Patricia Lay-Dorsey
Detroit, Michigan

March 27, 2009


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