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Henry Northington. Richmond, Virginia. “Northington’s severed head had been placed squarely in the center of the walkway, leading many to speculate that the murderer(s) had intended to make an anti-gay statement.”
Polychrome archival print from colour negative. 50”x 40”.

A free reception and artist talk by Reno photographer Paul Baker Prindle will be held Tuesday, Feb. 20 at the Nevada Arts Council’s OXS Gallery in Carson City.

The reception starts at 5:30 p.m. and the artist talk at 6:15 p.m.

For nearly a decade, Baker Prindle has documented sites from California to New York that look extraordinarily ordinary, downright banal. Yet each of these places and their everyday landscapes has a horrific story to tell. Each photograph is of a location where gay men, lesbians and transgender individuals were murdered.

“Viewers won’t find the bloody remains of violence or clues to who was murdered or why within these photographs,” explained Baker Prindle, whose series “Mementi Mori” is the featured exhibit at the OXS Gallery through March 9. “Human lives were forever ended in ignominious, plain places and I’ve purposely recorded these locals after years of growth and development have obscured any traces that once scarred the land. Each site I visited was an unsettling disappointment, bearing few, if any, clues to the value of the life that ended there. The photograph produced is a weak, but concrete, tie back to the criminal events that occurred at each site.”

In contrast to the banal images, Baker Prindle creates gruesome titles for the photographs from content he found in police reports, statements from grieving parents, letters and news reports. The contrast, he said, is to bring the viewer into the image emotionally and to understand their personal reading of the image is more important that the actual photograph.

“My hope is to help viewers recognize how central fantasy and imagination are to the photographic image,” he said. “From fashion shoots to war images from Iraq, photographic images rely on the viewer to complete their meaning by drawing on conscious and unconscious biases, preferences and worldviews.”

The exhibit, Mementi Mori,” seeks to show how people think about important current events and provoke conversations about the conventions of photography, photographic images and objects, and the ways in which photographs function as memory tools.

Managed by the Artist Services Program at the Nevada Arts Council, the OXS Gallery is located at 716 N. Carson St., Suite A, in Carson City. Read more