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Frank Ward I photograph because I have to. It is the way I react to the world around me. Photography is the method I use to make sense of things. Often my subjects are populations in transition and cultures at risk. As a documentary photographer I have worked with refugees, immigrants, nomads, pilgrims, and exiles. I prefer to avoid war and other disasters, but I make an effort to face troubleís aftermath and look for visual notations of social well-being or distress. I search for the beauty of individuals within the uncertainty of circumstances. I look for the possibility of transcendence in spite of political or social opposition.
The camera is my tool for responding personally to the world. I use all formats, both digital and film, large and small. I have been known to travel with an 8X10 inch view camera hoisted on my shoulder, a 35mm camera around my neck and a panorama camera in my shoulder bag. I have used the smaller cameras for note taking, to observe some of the kinetic energy around me while I work with the more static view camera.
After thirty years of connecting with people and cultures, it may seem curious to begin this exhibition with pictures of nonliving things. These objects of natural history represent my dialogue with the past. I approach these subjects as I would approach any subject for a portrait. They are lit by available light and they sit mostly where I find them. My process for photographing remains the same on the streets of Lhasa or in the backroom of the Amherst College Museum of Natural History. I photograph because I have to. Itís the way I react to the world around me.
Frank Ward (April 28, 2007)