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Library exhibits photographs of local artist in September

Date: 9/5/2012

By Carley Dangona

AGAWAM — For the month of September, Agawam Public Library will house a photography exhibit by local Diane Savioli-Chase, entitled "Afterlife," a collection of pictures of road-side memorials and cemeteries in the U.S. and Mexico.

An avid traveler, Savioli-Chase said, "I've been taking photographs for a long time — I'm not a professional, I just love taking photos. I am more looking at the emotion of the picture, rather than the technical aspect."

She continued, "I love to get the best photo I can that captures where I am. I would just like them [visitors to the exhibit] to see the joy I get from them [her photos]. I am very grateful to the Agawam Public Library for the opportunity to show my work."

She clarified that the snapshots featured in the display are not meant to "exploit" the loss of another's loved one, but rather to highlight the great lengths people go to in order to honor those who've passed.

"One of the largest road-side memorials I've seen was on High Road in Taos, N.M.," Savioli-Chase said. "It was probably 20' long, with baseball trophies, rosary beads, toys and a mask. I thought to myself, this is someone who had been admired."

She explained that she "is drawn to color," and avoids taking "calendar" photos which are standard and many times don't capture the landscape and its elements in entirety.

"The most striking [photos in the exposition] come from the San Juan Cemetery," Savioli-Chase mentioned. About three years ago, I was in San Antonio and next to the Missions was the cemetery. Every plot in the cemetery had these brilliant, plastic flower arrangements not just one, but like 10."

Savioli-Chase plans to include some local photographs in the display as well. "I have some photos of the cemetery on Cooper Street, as well as the Capt. Charles Leonard House," she stated. "I wish I could exhibit more, but I had to narrow it down to 18."

One of her main inspirations is photographer Dana Salvo, known for his photos of home altars created in memory of loved ones. "My goal for the past 20 years is to photograph the Day of the Dead," she said. "I'll never have enough time to go everywhere I want."

Viewing for the September exhibit is during regular library hours, Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library is closed Sundays. Join Savioli-Chase for a reception Sept. 20 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the library.