Brian Alterio’s floral series.


Brian Alterio

Founder and Head Photoweenie of, Jim Fitts, co-curated with Anne DeVito an exhibition at Panopticon Gallery in Boston. The exhibition is titled What I Did On My Summer Vacation. Panopticon put out a call-for-entries and the work of 35 photographers was select by Jim and Anne to be part of the exhibition. You can see more of the photographer’s work and get information on the exhibition here.
A few of the photographers in the exhibition will have their work featured on This posting features the work of Brian Alterio.

Brian supplied with the following background information
In 1972/3 I went to England. During the next 8 Years I worked professionally as a photographer working mostly on magazine reportage. During that period my creative photography career took off yielding multiple exhibitions around the UK and Europe, publications in several creative photography periodicals as well as purchases by renowned private & public collections.

In late ’79 I returned to the US. My arrival back in the US coincided with the genesis of industrial digital imaging technologies developed at MIT.  I was fortunate enough to have to opportunity to be one of the first practitioners in this arena. Unfortunately, my photographic career suffered. This period lasted for some 30 years.

My floral series began in late 2011 when I observed the slow, magnificent blooming of an Amaryllis. I was entranced by the flower’s organic beauty, but even more taken by the powerful push/pull of its form against a “then” accidentally dark background. The lyrical negative spaces pressing against the positive natural object were hypnotic, changing hour by hour and day by day until the declining petals fell prey to the power of figure versus ground – both beautiful and emblematic of the inevitable course of life itself.  Playing against the background, its withering, parchment-like trumpets seemed transformed, more akin to an Albrecht Dürer engraving than an object of botanical origin. Captivated, I began photographing these extraordinary objects in my studio, and have continued to do so on a regular basis.

This fascinating journey with floral images seemed strikingly evocative of the humbling studies of the human figure by our esteemed photographic predecessors.

In response, I began a parallel study of the human figure in conjunction with my ongoing studies of floral images, finding the coincidences of the human form  and lines in space played against the floral images infinitely compelling. asked Brian, “what do I see in the flowers & the human figure?”
Since that cathartic day; when I look at flowers, any flowers, I see… time, strength, poetry, fertility & mortality. When I photograph a specific flower each shoot over time is a gift of lyricism and form and symbolism.  The processes of photographing each flower, witnessing its changes as it declines, I find utterly inspiring. As I pursued the poetic botanical beauty I extrapolated the processes of floral change that I witnessed as emblematic of the inevitability of life, decline and mortality itself.

With this in mind, I see the abject beauty of the female [and/or male for that matter] progressing through life as a poem that deserves identification and articulation photographically.

Composition is very important. When I shoot each image the relationship to the frame edge and the negative spaces therein in I see as extremely critical to the success of each image language.

The facts:
What I Did On My Summer Vacation
September 12 – January 14, 2014
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 12th, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Panopticon Gallery
502c Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617 267-8929