Chelsea © Suzanne Opton
Ethel & Ulbert with a chicken © Suzanne Opton
Frances and Leaf © Suzanne Opton
Frank and Walter Parlor © Suzanne Opton
Frank on his bed © Suzanne Opton
Gayleen and Gawleen © Suzanne Opton
Gayleen in field © Suzanne Opton
Gayleen and Gawleen, Verna copy © Suzanne Opton
Hink and Jim © Suzanne Opton
Mason's Living room © Suzanne Opton
Mrs Mason Leaving © Suzanne Opton
Walter at Christmas © Suzanne Opton
Suzanne Opton’s images of Chelsea, Vermont in 1970’s are on display at the new Robert Anderson Gallery in New York. Opton’s first major series, the Vermont work, reflects her beginnings as a portraitist who pushes the boundaries of the genre.
Opton was a beginning unschooled photographer at the time. Her idea was that if she photographed the same seven families for a year, she would learn how to make a good photograph. She quickly discovered that the most interesting people in this town of 1000 inhabitants were not the pillars of the community, but rather those who never left home. They lived with a brother or sister at the end of a dirt road in the house they grew up in. They didn’t aspire to a life much different than their parent’s lives. They just lived to live.
Opton’s images offer a tender and intimate view of these quirky bygone lives. She visited one or another of these families almost every day, trading recipes, talking about the weather. She was the daughter come to visit.
Publication of Opton’s newest book, “Soldier / Many Wars,” by Decode Books, is scheduled publication in the Fall 2011
Until April 30
Robert Anderson Gallery
24 West 57th Street. Fifth Floor
New York City