Friday June 28, 6:00pm-8:30pm
Photographs by Ellen Bjerklie-Hanna, A. Jason Coleman, Danielle Goshay, Brenda Roger and Cynthia Zordich.
Coleman, Goshay and Roger create mysterious and surreal imagery, playing with optics, chemistry and materials. They celebrate aberrations, ghosts and abstract forms that enter our subconscious. Coleman uses old lenses and creative optic effects. Roger employs multiple exposers combining pinhole and lens cameras, then prints using a 19th century process called salt printing. Goshay's work is created using a photogram process or scanner, thus they are cameraless images. "This work is more experimental and so it intrigues and frustrates," says Abramson.
Bjerklie-Hanna and Zordich explore loss and life's transitions. Zordich uses wall text with traditional-style portraits to document football players after they've retired from the game. Bjerklie-Hanna experiments with a plastic Holga camera and composite imagery. She looks at her aging parents through their home and their possessions, as she anticipates their passing. "The images from both of these photographers allow an emotional connection with the viewer," says Abramson.
Pigment and Silver: Artist Statement/Cynthia Zordich
Cynthia Zordich combines dated Pittsburgh Post Gazette clippings, sideline player portraits and excerpts from her book When The Clock Runs Out to document the struggle of transition many players face when their NFL career comes to an end.
Black and White portraits taken by Zordich at a 1999 Steelers home game serve as relics of yesteryear. Shot on 3200 Tmax film, the negatives have been scanned and layered with imagery, color and text. Murals are created, printed and transferred to newspaper that has been mounted to 2.5' by 4' steel plates.
"Transition is often a difficult period in any life as it provokes change and with change comes uncertainty," says Zordich. "Players in transition can be faced with deep emotional scars as every aspect of life as they know it is pulled from them. The NFL can become intoxicating. Players may mistakenly become accustomed to the treatment, some falsely believe it will last forever."
The haunting images serve as precautionary tales. They force current and future players to acknowledge their inevitable destiny. They challenge the current player to change the course of their lives by preparing for life after the game early in their careers. They confirm the one thing that all players have in common and that is that one day they will be done.
Excerpt from When the Clock Runs Out.
For every professional athlete, but especially for the professional football player, quit is the vilest, the most despicable, the most loathsome of words.
Quit? That is seen as an act of cowardice. It is unthinkable, unforgivable.
Quit? You mean, give up? Give in? Surrender? Concede?
Never! Never, ever, never!
From Biddy Ball on, it has been drummed into them: A quitter never wins and...well, you know how it ends.
So they play on. They play on, no matter what. They play on whether they’re winning by six touchdowns or they’re getting their brains beat in. They play on through tears and fractures and concussions, and in weather that careens from one extreme to the other, from the Hades of training camp to the polar ice cap of the playoffs, and all the while they are told it is simply mind over matter: If you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter.
They play all the way through the last echo of the whistle. They are told to play every down like it was their last. Because one day, it will be.
Oh my God, what a dreadful thought. No. No. A thousand times no. I can’t let myself think about that. This can’t end...
But of course it can, and of course it will.
One day the decision will be made for them. A coach may make it. Their own body may make it. But someone is going to tell them that it is time to retire.
Retire? You mean quit? That’s what retire means, isn’t it?
Yes, yes it is. It means you have to let go.
It is the single most difficult thing that any of them will ever have to do.
Outside of player impact, Zordich hopes to open the window to player transition for fans as well.
"Keeping the players unnamed was quite intentional," shares Zordich. "Each year, in every sport, we revere the players on the field. When they're replaced it's one easy swipe on the chalk board and in no time someone new is wearing their number. But the NFL is not like the days of the gladiator, when old warriors were thrown on the cart and discarded. Though out of the limelight, these warriors live on. They are men with families... and futures. I want people to think about that as they travel from one piece to the next and realize that many of these players are as forgotten by them as the old clippings beneath them.
Cynthia Zordich is a contributor for the NFL Player Engagement Program which specializes is assisting players and their families in transition. Cynthia offers a unique perspective as the wife of a 12 year veteran and coach Michael Zordich. They have two sons, Michael V. (PSU '12, Carolina Panthers) and Alex (State Univ. of NY at Buffalo, QB), and a daughter, Aidan (PSU).