Monday, August 20, 2007

May Gallery talk & opening: Friday 24 August 2007

Michael Putnam: Pilgrim India
Opening reception Friday, 5-7 pm

Pilgrimage is the temporal road to the heart of the eternal. Pilgrims, at great personal sacrifice, travel to festivals where they may enter the sacral moment by stepping into the Ganges.
The custom of pilgrimage to the Ganges was recorded first in the seventh century. Today eighty million Indians per year make pilgrimage. They go alone or in groups, sometimes whole villages, to immerse themselves in the holy mother and purify themselves of their sins.

This is travel in the spirit of seeking, of pure obligation alive with adventure, the known and the hoped for. Here is a festive people, the heart of culture, the life away from the repetitions and intersections of routine expectations. Here are Hindu pilgrims gathered in celebration. This is where yearning intercepts the present. The photographs in the exhibition were taken at various bathing festivals along the Ganges over a period of 40 years.

Michael Putnam, will also speak at 2:00 in the University Center Presentation Room. His talk will be particularly about how his photographic project about old movie theaters turned into the book, Silent Screens: The Decline and Transformation of the American Movie Theater. The book has been put on reserve in the Emerson Library.

Both the talk and the opening reception are free and open to the public.

Michael Putnam is a native New Yorker with a visual interest in the anthropology of everyday life and in the way the image of what has gone before visually inhabits the present. He has photographed notably in the towns and cities of the continental U. S. and along the Ganges, and has been part of a multi-media project photographing daily life in Tokyo, Moscow, London and New York. He has published, among other photographic books, Silent Screens: The Decline and Transformation of the American Movie Theater, Johns Hopkins Press, 2000.


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