Today, some 40 years since his earliest forays into Connecticut, Larry Silver is sharing his retrospective of Westport photographs at the Westport Historical Society, located on 25 Avery Place in Westport through October 18, 2014. The exhibition, titled Larry Silver/Westport Visions, features images of the town’s favorite haunts, quiet spots and humorous encounters of everyday life in this culturally dynamic community along the shore of Long Island Sound and mouth of the Saugatuck River.
Larry Silver spent decades photographing the neighborhoods and public spaces of Westport, and the coming exhibit features images of its beaches, open fields, parks and downtown that are indicative of a love affair with his adopted town. This personal, creative journey began in 1973, when Larry Silver and his family moved from New York City to Westport.
Drawn from hundreds of images of Westport, this exhibition includes over 50 gelatin silver prints, many vintage. Included are icons of Silver’s career, such as the Compo Beach images Beach Showers (1980) and Dancing on the Jetties (1979), which depict isolated human figures in strongly composed, and graphic environments. This body of work is stylistically reminiscent of his earlier Photo League material, yet demonstrates the evolution of his lyrical and balanced compositions that define his trademark style. It also features images never exhibited or published before, including views of Sherwood Island State Park, the Gillespie Center (now Homes for Hope), town celebrations, local farms and neighborhoods, plus additional images of Compo, Longshore and downtown Westport. Silver shot the majority of these with a 35-millimeter Nikon, a 2 1/4 by 2 1/4 Hasselblad or a 4 x 5 view camera. However, in recent years, he has explored possibilities of digital cameras.
Westport Visions offers longtime residents, those new to the area, along with visitors an opportunity to pause and reflect upon the ever-evolving town, from its roots as an agrarian village to a summer resort and artistic community to a modern metropolitan suburb. Many of the places that Silver captured with his camera have changed or disappeared, yet, others, like views of commuters at the train station and bathers at Compo Beach, remain, at once timeless and familiar. This exhibition will provide audiences an opportunity to think about Westport’s past and future, with its omnipresent call to improve and be vibrant.