Thursday, May 17, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Vintage Vermont at Festival Gallery in Waitsfield

The Festival Gallery in Waitsfield, Vermont presents Vintage Vermont, a show of classic Vermont landscapes from antique glass plate photographic negatives.

The images, dating between 1890 – 1920, represent the foundation of the agrarian culture that still remains strong here in Vermont.  They show a glimpse of life just before the modernization of our society and depict a romantic time in Vermont’s history.  Six men on a railroad trestle, a baby sitting in a field, a snow covered village complete with a sleigh, or a family climbing into their horse and buggy – all of these images represent real people, real places and a real time in our past.

Neil Dixon, of Yankee Imaging, is a trained archaeologist who works in the historic preservation field.  Over time, he has collected old glass plates that he has found during his travels.  Though he owns over 350 plates, he has only just begun to print them.  Photographs belong to the photographer, and Dixon was reluctant to  reproduce the images as he did not “own” them.  “I decided I had a responsibility to reproduce and display this shared cultural heritage,” said Dixon.  “I am sensitive to the ownership of the images, but felt it was important to make them available for the next century.”

Of the 350 glass plates Dixon owns, he has only printed 11 so far, as the process is complicated and expensive.  By digitizing them for enlargement, he has been able to restore the images back to their original quality.  Choosing which images to print has not been easy.  Dixon shared that “It is a gut reaction to a negative that leads me to print it.”  All eleven images are on display at the Gallery.

Though Dixon has done some detective work to determine where the photos were taken in Vermont, a few of the plates had clues.  Alma with a Gun is a simple title for a mysterious photograph of a young woman, a small owl and a gun.  Why was the picture taken?  Who is Alma?  And why is she holding an owl?  The photo draws you in and leaves you with more questions!

Vintage Vermont
runs through June 12 at the Festival Gallery.  For the remainder of June and July the Gallery will host the photography of Henry Erickson.   The Festival Gallery is located at #2 Village Square, next to the Tempest Book Store.  For more information call 802-496-6682 or go to