Scott Barrow captures Pittsfield's active industries, shows them off at exhibit
PITTSFIELD -- You'll take away a few things from a new art exhibit in the city if you're like Lenox photographer Scott Barrow, who shot the pictures that make it up.
First, industry can be beautiful.
Shots from inside workspaces at Sabic, Unistress, Crane & Co., Lightning Technologies, Inc., The Berkshire Eagle and many more feature vibrant colors, complex machinery at work and, of course, dirtied hands.
Next, it's still here.
"There's an incredibly advanced, international manufacturing industry right here in the Berkshires and it seems all most people want to talk about is [General Electric] not being around anymore," Barrow said during the show's opening at Renne Street's Lichtenstein Center for the Arts. "A lot of people aren't aware of it, I think."
Called "Our Industrial Heritage 2.0," the display features bulletproof glass, X-rays, lightning rods, pulpers, a printing press, saws and molders -- all shot at locations within a few minutes drive of downtown Pittsfield.
The work went quickly, Barrow said. For each business featured, managers and employees were eager to show off trade secrets to be captured by his lens.
"People who work at these facilities are really proud of what they do and what they make," Barrow said.
Touring various plants, Barrow at LTI saw enormous sheets of 3-inch-thick glass being guided along by a single hand, thanks to technology that mimics a giant air hockey table. At Covanta, he saw trash turned into energy. At Crane, he saw Andrew Jackson's image imprinted on countless twenty dollar bills.
Barrow said he identified the images he wanted to capture almost immediately.
And so next, his project became a matter of documenting the people involved.
One large shot taken at Unistress hones in on a group of workers who appear blurred and featureless, like a pointillist painting -- the everyman work unit. Other images show hands mottled with multi-colored ink, taken at The Berkshire Eagle printing press, and a skeletal X-ray of a hand being held by flesh-and-blood hands, taken at a Berkshire Health Systems facility.
"No matter how high-tech industry gets, nothing happens without people," Barrow said. "So in the end, it became a show of hands."
The Lichtenstein Center is open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.
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