Saranac Lake A new photo exhibit, Heads and Tales, opening at the Adirondack Artists’ Gallery on Oct. 4, represents a revived exploration for Burdette Parks.
Most of his photography since landing in the Adirondacks twenty-three years ago has been devoted to capturing the splendors of the landscapes and natural wonders of this beguiling wilderness place. But in this exhibit, he returns to a landscape he explored for many years while working in the theater - the equally fascinating landscape of the human face.
Burdette calls Heads and Tales a portrait project. In creating the show, he has done portrait sittings with a variety of people using a consistent “studio” lighting setup and is presenting the results as a collection of framed facial landscapes. During each sitting, he had the sitter tell a story of their choosing. But he encouraged them to tell the story with their hands and photographed the hands during the telling. Photos of those storytelling hands will be an integral part of the exhibit along with the text of the stories told.
Faces are rich in detail and variety. Studying other people’s faces intently can provoke embarrassment or even be interpreted as rude, anti-social behavior. Just like pictures of objects or landscapes, portraits can be assessed quickly and superficially and passed over. But having a representation of the person in front of us instead of the real person, we are afforded the opportunity to really study the face without the sense of intrusion.
The exhibit opens at the gallery of the Adirondack Artists’ Guild at 52 Main Street in Saranac Lake. There will be an opening reception from five to seven on Friday, Oct. 4 open to everyone. The show will be up for the month of October along with works by the other members of the Adirondack Artists’ Guild.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and noon until 3 p.m. on Sundays. The gallery is closed on Mondays but will be open on Columbus Day. The Guild is on the web at adirondackartistsguild.com, and on Facebook at Adirondack Artists Guild.