Photo invitational features distinctive portraits

Publication Date

Images from the acclaimed “Echolilia,” a recent project of photographs and limited edition book from Schenectady native Timothy Archibald that directs the lens on his son’s autism, will be featured in the Photography Invitational Exhibition 2011, opening today, Jan. 3, at the Burns Arts Atrium in the Visual Arts Building.

Also included are works by Clarissa Amaral ’11 and Raymond Felix of Troy.

From "Echolilia," a photo project by Schenectady native Timothy Archibald that has drawn national attention.

From "Echolilia," a photo project by Schenectady native Timothy Archibald that has drawn national attention.

The show was conceived and curated by professor Martin Benjamin, with installation by Frank Rapant, Union exhibition technician.

“My feeling of utter frustration and powerless started this project,” Archibald told New York Times writer Jane Gross, who recently featured “Echolilia” in an article titled “Son and Father Pierce Autism’s Veil.”

Echolilia is the technical term for the copying of sounds and sentences common in verbal children who suffer from some form of autism.

An award-winning commercial and editorial photographer who graduated from Penn State, Archibald worked closely with Benjamin while visiting Union photography classes when he was in middle and high school. His brother, James, Class of 1981, worked as the photo lab tech.

Archibald’s portfolio includes work for Discover and Time magazines as well as such corporate clients Apple and Skittles. His book, published in June by Echo Press, is a result of many hours of collaboration with his son, Elijah, in their family’s home outside San Francisco. “He has always fetishized objects,” Archibald said in the Times.“They are iconic to him.’’

“It’s always great to connect with Tim, whose ‘Echolilia’ project I’ve been following through his blog,” said Benjamin. “Now it’s getting national attention, so it is very fortunate timing for Union to have and host his work.”

A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Amaral created “Union Faces,” a series of close-up portraits of Union staff, students, faculty and administrators, conceived during a color digital photography class. Benjamin produced the large-scale prints specifically for this installation.

Amaral is an interdisciplinary major in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and visual arts, with minors in French and film studies. Her interest in photography grew from her intrigue at pictures taken by her stepfather, a professional submarine photographer. Amaral cites lighting and retouching as the tools to translating close-up everyday expressions into images that appeal to “the 21st century eye.”

Felix, who teaches at the University at Albany, is exhibiting a series of self-portraits, titled “Self-Evidence,” addressing issues of likeness and identity.

He received his BFA in painting and photography from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and an MFA from UAlbany. His work is included in several collections, including the Albany Institute of History and Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The Atrium Gallery show is sponsored by the Department of Visual Arts and runs through March 11.

The gallery is open to the public from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.