In an artist statement Concord resident, David Prifti once wrote that is was his desire to explore his life through the things that shaped his life. These formative elements were his relationships, his memories, his sense of family, rites of passage, aging and death. The creative process that led to all of his photographs was indirectly a very personal journey for him.
Two years ago, David Prifti died at age fifty of pancreatic cancer. He was a dedicated and inspirational photography teacher at Concord-Carlisle High School for twenty-five years. Monika Andersson, Prifti’s widow, recalls that one of David’s famous sayings was “Do something for your art every day!” Andersson recalled Prifti as “vivacious and compassionate”, as “an irrepressible jokester”, “a crazy boisterous guru” and “always busy, and always on the move.” He also had “a quiet depth, and a deep love for life and the people in it.”
An exhibition, culled from a collection of Prifti’s photographic assemblages and wet plate collodion images, Prifti: Drawn by Light, is featured in the Main Gallery of the Griffin Museum January 9 through March 2, 2014. An opening reception is January 23, 7-8:30 p.m.
Of his photographic assemblages Prifti said, “Through the juxtaposition of images, found objects and ephemera, I create autobiographical associations that become symbolic, conveying a sense of personal history and the passage of time.” He also said, “The reusing of old materials allows me to resurrect them into a new form.”
For his wet plate collodion images, some of his first projects were of nature. “He had long been fascinated by trees, and especially those with exposed roots, showing how tenuous life’s hold on survival is,” said Monika Andersson. “He built a darkroom that he could load onto a skiff, and, wearing a set of waders I had bought him at a garage sale, would walk and canoe the river, tugging along the skiff with the darkroom, getting water’s edge access to the many trees along the Assabet river. Some of the trees were fallen; others were with their roots exposed, and gripping onto the edge of the world."
Prifti used wet plate collodion as a vehicle for portraits of his friends, students and acquaintances. He also photographed a community of people who alter their bodies.
Born in Worcester, MA. Prifti received an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art, New
Haven, CT, and a B.F.A. from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA. He resided and worked in Concord with his wife and two children.
A gallery talk for museum members by Denyse Murphy – whose exhibit Confluence is featured in the Atelier Gallery – is at 6:15 p.m. January 23, prior to the opening reception for all exhibits.
All photographs courtesy of the Prifti Family Estate, Gallery Naga, Boston, MA and Rice Polak Gallery, Provincetown, MA.