Monday, March 23, 2009

Fall River Boys





The name Richard Renaldi has been coming up in my Fall River Google alerts, for quite some time. It wasn't until yesterday that I clicked on one of the Renaldi updates, and am very glad I did.

In 2000, and for many subsequent years, artist Richard Renaldi came to Fall River to photograph our mills but was inspired by our people to take his work in a somewhat different direction. Renaldi wanted to capture the image of coming of age in a town with not alot of opportunity. His 184 page book with 89 images is available at Charles Lane Press .

From a review by 5B4 (a great read if you have the time)

when I see the young man Erik in plate 32 with his straightforward glare with one hand on a baby stroller you know that that new responsibility will have a profound effect on what risks, and ultimately what decisions, he makes. Each person may start with the potential to do anything as we are told, but the possibilities narrow greatly with even the slightest of choices.

Portrait after portrait, we look upon the faces and clothing and momentarily ask about their futures; which of them will leave the street corner, which will become artists, which will work passionless jobs and which will find their calling, which will learn to love life and which will learn to hate it.

The landscapes in Fall River Boys describe not a town of horrible circumstance but simply of the ordinary. It is not affluent but middle working class and perhaps mind-numbing. As Michael Cunningham who penned the absolutely wonderful introduction tells us, Fall River's motto is 'We Try' - a motto which seems to be apologizing for itself and preparing for disappointment. Renaldi gives just enough of the surroundings for us to get a sense of the industry and perhaps the limiting opportunity for those who remain. Limiting as it may appear, Renaldi's view camera also ups the ante with its lush descriptions that render even the most dreary of industrial site in its moment of beauty.

An interview with the artist, Richard Renaldi:



Richard Renaldi at Jackson Fine Art from Art Relish on Vimeo.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting forward this information. After listening to Mr. Renaldi and peeking into his work, I am intrigued, and then I realize, I've known this feeling all along, I just bury the feelings deep, and continue with my day. I encoourage my children to leave the city after college. I know this sounds callus, but inside I too find the motto "We'll Try" a sounding board for a constant fear of doom lurking. I'd love to purchase the book however, $85.00 is too steep a price for something that I already see and feel daily.

Anonymous said...

What great images! I wonder what will have become of these striking young men 10 years from now.

shamrock said...

The photographer began his work on this project in 2000 so for some photos it probably has been nearly 10 years. I agree, it would be an interesting follow up to see where the boys are now.

W.J. Bloggah said...

Most of them are probably still here living in Section 8 housing. None are employed and most are addicted to heroin. Once this city gets it's claws into you, you cannot break free from the gravitational pull of the abyss that is Faw Riva. It's a self perpetuating mindset of that defeatest attitude ("We'll Try" instead of "We'll DO"), combined with the avarice and corruption of the local government, and compounded by the fact that anyone who ever gave a damn about this city has long since been replaced by a gun-toting wannabe from Brockton or Boston. When did "Ben Fica" and "Portugese Pride" give way to "Bloods & Crips 4 Lyfe" and "Stop Snitchin"? Seriously, who's left in the city that can even remember what it was like "back in the day". Maybe it wasn't always the best, but there was still that sense of community. I used to make fun of my aunts and uncle for their "Portugese Pride", they're all gone now and look what's left....dollar stores and blunt wraps and DJ Paulie down at the Regatta

This is a different city now than it was even 10 years ago. Changed and not for the better. At what point do we pass the point of no return, how much more needs to go wrong before this city just gets written of as a lost cause. I think most people have and that number grows everyday. I personally don't think we can return to any glory days we once had, it's too far gone for that. What's needed is a new paradigm, a shift in philosophies, an embracing of the future instead of clinging to the past glories that aren't there any more. But instead we live in fear. Fear of our new "neighbors", fear of future technology, fear of our Elected Officials. We live in fear of change, yet change passes us by everyday and if we don't embrace it, we will be buried under it.

Yeah, a lot of nice words, right, but in the end, no one hears me. Why do I bother?

Anonymous said...

I hear you WJ Bloggah, and so do many others, they just don't want to admit it!

ClaraBelle

Anonymous said...

I hear you too, WJ. We're afraid of change, we're afraid of trying to be great. We have a defeatist attitude and a huge inferiority complex. I don't know what can possibly help. Is it too much to expect our leaders to care about us instead of themselves? Honestly, they'd sell the cardiac paddles to the highest bidder while we writhed on the ground in our death throes rather than resuscitate us. The mayor has no soul.

Anonymous said...

I'm listening to WJ, but is hearing you enough. We need some king of organized action.

W. J. Bloggah said...

We've tried organized action. Many times. The fire cheif petition got sqaushed, the people that went to the FROED/RA meeting regarding 64 Durfee St were stifled and stripped of they're right to public input, not to mention defamed by an editorial on the loacal radio. The folks who went to the so called "State of the City" address to protest the layoffs were made intimidated by the unecessarily large police presence, not to mention the paddy wagon and K-9 units outside. I'm surprised they didn't turn the firehoses on us. The only real success story I can think of where the people were actually heard was the David Miller Green fiasco, and I'm not sure that even counts because the McGovern Monument is STILL there after they said it would be moved.

The point I'm getting at is that there are still people who care and are WILLING to take action, Shamrock is one and kudos to you for running this blog. But those numbers shrink everyday because in the end, it just doesn't matter. Those with the power to do what they want to do (and this goes for every gang member as much as it does the current Adminstration) will continue to do what they want, when and how they want. They will just keep taking and taking until there is nothing left to take. Then what?

w. j. bloggah said...

Please excuse my spelling errors above, I know the difference between "their, they're and there". I just get so frustrated, sometimes my hands move quicker than my mind...

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, WJ, you are eleoquent even with the small errors.

Anonymous said...

I think some headway has been made and more people are watching this administration, the political manuevers have become more difficult for them . In the past they would have just slid it by without anyone noticing.

So as frustrating as it may seem WJ at least something has come of those attempt like the fire chief petition . As a matter of fact that may have started it.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Nothing being done?

Think again the firefighters are protesting as I blog on on the block of Baker Street onto Bratyon Avenue. If you think that this community isn't fighting mad, and the higher ups aren't paying attention publically and virtually, your not giving US enough credit. Here's an idea, CHANGE the City Motto, not the school names.

ClaraBelle

johnybfallriver said...

This looks like something out of gangland on HBO. Making a photo black and white seems to give people a false sense of peace in a photo.

Anonymous said...

Too bad that the content of this post was overlooked. previewed the book online, great local images.