This November, the Vermont Center for Photography is proud to present a solo exhibition by Ashfield, MA photographer Frank Ward. The series titled “The Drunken Bicycle: Travels in a Former Soviet Union” is an intriguing documentary of a region of our world unknown to many. Ward has visited Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan numerous times now and continues to capture these captivating moments of everyday life.
The exhibit will be on display from November 2nd through December 2nd with an opening reception on Friday, November 2, 2012 from 5:30 to 8:30pm during Brattleboro’s Gallery Walk.
“The Drunken Bicycle is a collection of pictures made in Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan from 2005-2010. I would think of this portfolio as the equivalent to travel writing with a camera except that the pictures contain few tourist vistas or landmarks. Evidence of the Silk Road, Ghengis Khan and other empires remain in the dust. The closing picture, illustrating an ancient mosque in Khiva, is actually a photograph of a soccer game where all but one of the participants have blurred into invisibility during the long night exposure. My interpretation is of the present. What is life like now, how is culture manifested, and where is the influence of our global interconnectedness? These questions linger as I make some portraits, landscapes, and mostly celebrate what is— a carpet, a chair, a road, a school, a plastic bag.
Forty-two years ago my video professor at UMass offered me a summer job making slide shows. I asked for an advance to buy a camera and became a professional. Soon after that I met a philanthropist who sponsored me for a year while I created slide shows in Asia. I continue to travel in Asia. In 2012, I was a Cultural Envoy in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan for the US Department of State. In 2011, I received the Massachusetts Cultural Council Award for my photography in the former Soviet Union. My mother continues to be amazed that I am a successful photographer.
I am a professor in the Holyoke Community College Visual Art Department, Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA. I have a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Bard College. I have had a National Endowment for the Arts/ New England Foundation for the Arts grant for work with the Puerto Rican community in Holyoke. The Polaroid Foundation and ViewCamera Magazine have awarded my work in Tibet and the Rotary Foundation has funded my photography in India. I have made four trips to the former Yugoslavia with the Friends of Bosnia and the Center for Balkan Development. This work has been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe.”
Or by appointment.
Selection of images from the exhibition: