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Downtown waitresses and other friends

By Phoebe Greyson

From medieval times through the present, portraiture has been a primary form of artistic expression. Whether painted or photographed, the human subject holds an undeniable fascination for both artist and viewer. Frozen in time, revealed in all of its complexity and contradiction, the face of another evokes association with our own history, our own efforts to hide or reveal who we have become. And what about the photographer? Is he or she not also present in the choice of angle, lighting, emphasis and timing? Richard Avedon, one of the best known portrait photographers of last century, has said, “Sometimes I think all my pictures are just pictures of me. My concern is…the human predicament.” On April 16, at the Berlin Bar & Bistro, photographer Lou Barranti offers us an opportunity to ponder these questions as we view his exquisitely crafted portraits of ordinary people in formal studio settings. For the past 25 years he has focused his camera on “servers” – the waiters, waitresses and bartenders who staff the habitual hangouts of trendy New Yorkers. His website, The Downtown Waitress Project, is a showcase of beautiful young women just being themselves, comfortably posed against featureless backdrops. Playful, dignified, solemn, intense and strangely riveting, presented in the manner of presidents and royalty, Barranti’s subjects seem to take on a similar gravitas, reminding us that, when we encounter them at work, they are only playing at being Cinderella and that we are all guests at the ball. Photographs from the “Downtown Waitress Project” and other portraits made in New York, Ohio, and San Miguel de Allende, will be exhibited at the opening of Lou Barranti’s show on Wednesday, April 16, between 7 and 9pm at the Berlin Bar & Bistro, Umarán 19.

“Waitresses and Other Friends”
Portraits by Lou Barranti
Wed, Apr 16, 7-9pm
Berlin Bar and Bistro
Umarán 19

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