Chenango Arts Council Features New Berlin Artist And Photographer
Published: September 19th, 2023

Chenango Arts Council features New Berlin artist and photographer Photographer Bill McLaughlin will be presenting more than 70 portraits at his exhibit, "Face to Face: Portraits from the Precipice" at the Chenango Arts Council in Norwich.(Photos from Chenango Arts Council)

NORWICH – New Berlin artist and photographer Bill McLaughlin will be presenting his exhibit, "Face to Face: Portraits from the Precipice" at the Chenango Arts Council in Norwich.

The project seeks to celebrate the diversity in our area and offers a gentle reminder that as the growing voices of hatred and intolerance seek to divide us, we as a community, share much more that unites us than separates us.

More than 70 portraits were made locally in the Southern Tier at public events including county fairs, concerts and festivals over the last year. Many of the participants also contributed thoughts and comments on the current division in our society.

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The portraits were printed in larger-than-life format so that viewers can walk through the gallery and literally come “face to face” with these members of our community in a neutral and intimate setting. 

Interspersed between the portraits are a variety of comments from the sitters, poems and other reflections on the topics of tolerance etc.

“It's been said that every portrait is also a self-portrait. And so hopefully it is also true that in

viewing these photographs we will see ourselves in each of these faces, and in doing so, recognize our

shared humanity,” said McLaughlin.

“As the forces that seek to divide us racially, politically and economically intensify, it is my hope that this project will help to foster tolerance rather than division; understanding rather than exclusion,” he added.

This project is made possible with public funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program,

a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and administered by The Earlville Opera House.

McLaughlin is an artist and photographer from New Berlin.

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Recently, Bill has begun to explore photography to address current social issues. He is

particularly interested in the "power of the portrait" as a vehicle to call attention to marginalized

populations and also to combat the growing voices of division and exclusion.

His previous photography project, “Living in Limbo: Portraits from the Border,” was exhibited

throughout Central New York during the last two years. That project focused on the plight of migrants stranded in Tijuana, Mexico.

Bill's current project, “Face to Face: Portraits from the Precipice”, continues the use of portraits

to explore and celebrate the rich diversity of our rural community.

– Information from the Chenango Arts Council