A few months ago, I was juried into the Pontiac Community Art Center as a member, and had a few of my photos displayed in the shop. It’s a wonderful experience to be surrounded by such creative and talented people. Most of my work pales in comparison.
I was asked to do a show of some of my work in June, and have been frantically been getting pieces ready for it the past few weeks, and I appreciate Marty covering for me here. As a member, I volunteer at the center a few days a month and truly feel “at home”. Being around people that see things slightly different, perhaps slightly ‘askew’, and share the same sense of humor has truly amazed me.
The theme of my show is “What Once Was”, and regular readers of my contributions here may recognize some of these, as I have posted some of the included works here. I will also post some of them today. All are my photos, with the exception of a lone charcoal piece (my first attempt at this medium) of one of the photos I snapped of my Dad’s hand, titled appropriately “A Father’s Hand”. I truly felt the need to include this piece as it was one that helped to get me juried in, as well as the fact that my Dad (and Mom) were both supporters of the arts, and wanted him to be represented and certainly a part of it.
I will include my Artist Statement here, the description of “A Father’s Hand” (and original cell phone photo) here as well. A Press Release went out to some of the Central Illinois newspapers (including The Daily Leader, The Pantagraph and The Peoria Journal Star) and media announcing the show, and I will include that and the details as well.
In the two years I have literally turned a curiosity of photography in a passion, have given me a great deal of peace, and I continue to find that peace each time I am out shooting. Thanks to all of you for accompanying me on this journey thus far, as it will indeed be continued. I will be volunteering there a few weekend days during June, and may even see a few of you, should you choose to check it out.
“What Once Was” by “Boris” Boden
Recently, I have had a few people tell me that some of my photos make them “feel sad”. Whereas, the remains of the once active things or places may cause that emotion, I tend to look at them with more of a curious mind. My photos are “less conventional”, as a lot of them feature old abandoned cars and buildings that I have come across, and often wondered about the history of each of them. Be it the rusted out hulk of a 50’s family sedan, to abandoned buildings and houses, each has their own story and “beauty in decay” as I have come to call them.
I have adopted a theme of "What Once Was" among them. The vehicles featured all rolled off of an assembly line at some point in time, were ordered, delivered, and served their individual purposes, from the work they performed, to family vacations, grocery getting and perhaps serving as the means for someone learning to drive. The factories and buildings housed manufacturing, gathering place of employees and the stories they all shared. The homes, housed families, Holidays, watching relationships come and go, and children going to school and growing up, only to leave that nest and begin lives of their own, all the while making memories along the way.
While seeking out “new” places and locations, I have noticed other debris along the way, some on the sides of roads and some strewn about the countryside. Thinking about it, and using the old adage, “every picture tells a story”, I realized that even the most insignificant bit of “trash” indeed has a history, whether it was a long forgotten toy, a bottle, can or cup thrown out of a moving car window, a broken cell phone, tools or other hardware, they all came to rest somewhere.
I’m not an advocate of littering, but I have become somewhat fascinated by some of what I have seen, and began to take photos, when I notice them, documenting it. To my amazement, they began to take on an “artsy” feel to them, their contrasting colors, the broken shapes and weathered appearances all a part of their story. I’m certainly not being overly philosophical here, but in all reality, all things begin and end somewhere.
I considered calling them “Roadside Distractions”, as they have become one of my favorite “unconventional” types of subject matter, and have since, all fallen victim to my Canon. Some of these photos are taken purely due to the “unlikely setting” they are found in and I have never moved any of them. Nothing is ever staged when I shoot photos (I wouldn’t touch some of this stuff with a stick, while wearing a HazMat suit). Keeping my sense of humor throughout, others I would take for the sake of “naming” them something amusing just to humor myself.
In closing, it can be summed up as the history, the memories made and carried within them all. A slice of life, death and Americana, when these shells are gone, all that will remain are those stories and memories they held.
“A Father’s Hand” by “Boris” Boden
The story and inspiration behind this piece is as follows. My Dad was battling Central Nervous System Lymphoma for over 2 years, and during that time, I took a series of photos using only my cellphone of his hands, and holding hands with those he loved. Sadly, he lost the battle on Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 11am CST. Those photos became a tribute not only to his amazing courage, but especially to the love I witnessed between my Mother and Father. They have taught me so much and have proven to me that true love does indeed exist. His last words to my Mother were “Goodnight My Dear”, the very same thing he told her every single night for 57 years. He truly made a difference in my life.
One of those photos was of that of his hand alone as he rested, and it always stood out to me, and having never done a charcoal drawing, I decided to try and capture that moment. During the drawing, it was if my hand was guided by his, and the result is shown here in the Gallery.
I am grateful for the memories we were able to create and share together during that time, and I will cherish them forever.
My sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of those who were with me on that journey through those difficult and emotional times, and still are as the healing continues.
For all of your Thoughts, your Prayers, and your Sincere Words of Love, I shall remain ever grateful.
I love you Dad, this one is for you.
Press Release: Pontiac Community Art Center June 2014 Gallery Show
"What Once Was" by “Boris” Boden
The Pontiac Community Art Center is announcing a Gallery Show of the Photography of “Boris” Boden, opening on Sunday, June 1, and running through Saturday, June 28. The show, titled “What Once Was” features some abandoned locations, old vehicles and other subject matter that have indeed, endured the test of time. “Boris” began his love of photography less than three years ago, and was drawn to these places for the stories they contain, as well as the memories they hold. His compositions capture the colors, textures and depth of some of that “Beauty in Decay” as he calls it. These slices of Americana are rapidly vanishing, and when they are gone, will leave nothing but those memories. Visitors may even recall some of them upon seeing these collections.
Pontiac Community Art Center
The Gallery and Shop are located at 103 W. Madison, Pontiac, Illinois.
The Center's hours are Monday - Friday, 10am-5pm, Saturday, 10am-4pm
and Sunday, 9:30am-4pm. The public is welcome.
Don’t forget to check out, the "Secret Weapon,” “Boris'” radio show on Woody Radio where “Boris” plays some great tunes, some of which you’ve probably never heard. Listen to it right here: "Secret Weapon" on Woody Radio.
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