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Visual of the American dream: Pantano’s photo exhibit starts Friday

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

If you’ve ever taken an art history course, you can appreciate the differing stances of Romanticism and Realism—emotional and subjective vs. objective and true-to-form.

Phil Pantano’s new photo exhibit, “The American Worker,” delves into the latter, capturing the end-of-the-day expressions and the toll that blue-collar jobs have on Americans. The exhibit begins with a free reception from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday at Main (St)udios, 515 Main St., Buffalo, and then will be on display from June 14 to 19 at the same location.

Pantano took photos of 19 locals from various careers—all at the end of a work day—to portray the somber reality of pursuing the “American dream” of freedom, prosperity and success. The series sets out to portray more than just the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. clock-watcher—Pantano hones in on a musician, an artist, a model and a paramedic in order to highlight careers that lack day-to-day security but have a glimmer of lucrative potential.

Judging by the images Pantano provided—as well as the header photo—the photography series masterfully conveys emotions that—from my perspective—hint at powerlessness, toughness, pride, frustration, thoughtfulness, exhaustion, purposelessness and resilience. According to the photographer, many of the workers he portrayed in his exhibit will be in attendance on Friday, which could lead to a fun “matching” game if you’re into intense people-watching.

Here’s Pantano’s premise for the series via his press release:

“Every day we work harder and harder. Eight hours, ten hours, one job, two jobs - whatever it takes. At the end of the workday, this is what we are left with. This is the story of the hard work and service that goes into The American Dream.”

The reception will be catered by Michael’s Banquet, wine will be provided by Leonard Oakes Estate Winery and beer will be served by the Genesee Brewing Company. Jazz-fusion band NOD, a “power trio” from Rochester, will be on hand for live music.

Pantano’s exhibit could give you the solidarity you need in knowing others share your entrepreneurial plight or provide catharsis for your weekday worries. Or, you could just attend to see rather stirring photographers of Western New Yorkers, network with the 120+ who’ve committed on Facebook and do some recreational drinking. 


TAGGED: genesee brewing company, leonard oakes estate winery, main street studios, main studios, phil pantano, the american worker

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