The Wardsville Legacy Portraits in the Heritage Gallery at the Arts and Cookery Bank will be replaced by a new show featuring the natural beauty of our region.
The Legacy Potraits occupied the Great Hall gallery September 30, 2011 – March 31, 2014
How the Subjects Were Photographed
Over the course of two days in June 2011, about 260 people posed in 69 groupings in a temporary studio set up in the pavilion of the Wardsville baseball park. A team of “wranglers” provided logistical support as folks signed in and queued up for the sittings. David Chidley, an accomplished local photographer, shot each group using a digital camera and provided invaluable on-site counsel and equipment. The local “Package Nanny” (Heather Rowe) set up a digital printer in the ‘studio’ and every group received a high-quality color print on the spot.
Larry Merin used a vintage Hasselblad camera for the portraits, since archivally processed film can be safely stored for decades without deterioration. The project was designed to provide the people of Wardsville with a ‘shoebox’ of images that could be stored in a form that could be seen easily in the future. Stored in archives, the Legacy negatives should remain in pristine condition for many years. Hopefully, they will be printed anew in 2110.
Folks grouped themselves for the sittings; most were couples and families. We also photographed people linked by work (the Wardsville Volunteer Fire Department) and by hobbies (barbershop singers, ballroom dancers, barn quilt painters, a brass band). It was a special honor to photograph a group of War Brides.
There was no 1-2-3 and no “Say Cheese.” Larry reminded each group that the purpose of the photography session was to produce a historical record. He asked them to look into the camera and imagine that their expression and pose would be the way future generations would come to know them. Some responded with smiles, while others were pensive. Some adopted formal poses while others were spontaneous. The photographs reveal the people of Wardsville the way they see themselves and wish others to see them: straightforward, friendly, proud of their village and comfortable with their way of life.
I am grateful to all who presented themselves to our cameras and allowed Dave Chidley and I to record their names and faces for coming generations.
Lawrence Merin, September 2011, Nashville