The space is one of the oldest fine arts photography galleries in the United States
“First Look 2022” is the Panopticon Gallery’s annual, juried portfolio showcase, and five portfolios have been selected to be on display. The exhibit will have its opening reception on Feb. 3, and it will be open through March 28. According to the Panopticon Gallery’s website, “Every photograph tells a story. When part of a body of work, the photograph takes on new meaning, becoming part of a bigger and more complete narrative. A portfolio allows the photographer to explore the complexities of their subject, and provide context that gives it richness and meaning that is more than the sum of its parts.”
The five artists and the names of their portfolios are Bamby, with “The Empty Nester,” Miranda Schmitz with “Black Waves,” Diane Hemingway with “Impossible Diamonds,” Laurie Swope with “Before Self-Consciousness,” and Allison Plass with “Hold Me Tight.” The artists have offered statements on their work on the website, and two are included below:
“‘Black Waves’ is an expressionistic and metaphorical project that explores the dark depths of grief. It’s a based on the true story of a friend of mine, who lost her 19 year old daughter Eva to suicide on a holiday with her boyfriend in France in 2012. The series is a personal visual interpretation of the 7 diaries full of grief that I received from the mother of Eva,” writes Schmitz.
“In this project, I use nature as a poetic tool to narrate a personal story. I visualize the harsh and unknown landscape of mourning. I materialize the nature of sadness and loss. I show her intense desire to reverse the cruel truth by adding some negative prints to the story. The title ‘Black Waves’ refers to the negative moods of Eva which led to the irreversible act of stepping out of life. But also to the tide of grief that characterizes the life of the family she left behind.”
“As a photographer, I had always dreaded the self-consciousness that comes with adolescence. One of my greatest joys was to watch my two sons passionately explore their world and realize their intrinsic goals–tasting fresh snow or feeling like a superhero or touching a salamander–without the constraints of self-consciousness or the pressures of expected behavior,” writes Swope. “Once they became more self-aware- and I can see the beginning traces in these photographs- I came to understand just how free they had been. This ephemeral freedom makes me wonder about my own extrinsic motivations and convoluted goals. Are my decisions dictated by what I think other people think? How much does self-consciousness dull the enjoyment of my daily life, control my ambitions and manipulate my sense of what is right and what is wrong? We are all touched by innocent and sentimental images of childhood, but these images also remind me of lost freedoms- and the resulting conformity in which so many of us have become entrenched.”
Panopticon Gallery is located at 502c Commonwealth Avenue, inside Hotel Commonwealth.
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.