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'Treasures' disappear at the Jasper Rand Art Museum

By Katelyn Gendron-List

Staff Writer

LONGMEADOW Longmeadow photographer Lani Giguere is transporting museum goers through a dreamlike historical window in time with her first solo art exhibit titled, "Our Vanishing Treasures," at the Jasper Rand Art Museum.

The exhibit, which was unveiled on July 19, features a mixture of black and white and color prints of historical artifacts and buildings that have been long since out of use.

"This is a marriage of my passion for history and photography," Giguere said. "I use a lot of diffused light to bring people back to an earlier time period. With the use of diffused light it's like a dream. It brings them back to let them know what has brought us from the past to who we are now."

This two-year labor of love required Giguere to drive around looking for old barns and buildings, items lost in time and even landscapes that she said were falling prey to developers.

"I would drive around looking for buildings with character, or that were falling apart and showed signs of their age," Giguere said.

The exhibit allows museum goers to see her photographs of various artifacts such as crocks from the early 1800s, kitchen tools that were used 170 to 180 years ago, and even a 19th century coffee grinder.

When making the decision about which photographs to take in black and white or color Giguere stated that she had to listen to her heart and go beyond what her eyes were seeing and her ears were hearing.

"Certain things just speak to you better in black and white because it brings out the light, line and texture better than color," Giguere said.

While Giguere is experimenting with digital photography her first love is the darkroom where she can develop and process her own film.

"I've made a switch to digital but there's nothing like getting your hands in the dough and kneading it yourself," she said.

Giguere stated that she has always loved photography but waited to become a student of the craft until after her four children were raised. She began taking photography courses at Holyoke Community College, and it was there that she realized her passion for photographing nature, history and wildlife.

While Giguere has participated in many group exhibitions as a member of the Pioneer Valley Photographic Artists she hopes to continue on with more solo shows, in addition to her day job as a portrait photographer at Grynn and Barrett Photography Studios in Holyoke.

"I started out photographing nature and wildlife and moved on to photographing history and it just clicked and I loved it," Giguere said. "I loved it so much that I continued to do it and I will continue to do it."

Giguere's exhibit will be displayed at the Jasper Rand Art Museum until Aug. 31.

For more information call the Westfield Athenaeum at 562-0716.