Above: Badu, Congo, from WE ARE – A Nation of Immigrants. Photograph by Joe Standart '69
Three Hotchkiss alumni from the Class of 1969 have photography exhibits on campus in anticipation of their 50th reunion Sept. 27 & 28. Thomas Blagden Jr. ’69, P'08, Joe Standart '69, P'09,11, and Stephen Toll '69 will also visit photography classes Sept. 27 to talk with students about their work.
The exhibits are located throughout the School’s campus, a project organized by Joan Baldwin, curator of special collections at Hotchkiss. Thomas Blagden, Jr. and Stephen Toll’s landscape photographs are on display in the Main Building while Joe Standart’s portraits of New Haven and New London immigrants are exhibited on the east lawn outside the School’s dining hall.
Tom Blagden’s work focuses on the Northwest Connecticut, South Carolina, Acadia National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Costa Rica, places he knows well and loves. Blagden writes, “Growing up in a family of artists in Connecticut’s rural Northwest Corner instilled in me a deep love for the land.” A passionate environmentalist, Blagden publishes his ninth book, The Grand Canyon — Unseen Beauty: Running the Colorado River, this summer. The photographs exhibited in the Hotchkiss Rotunda are primarily of South Carolina.
Like his classmates, Joe Standart began his career photographing the American landscape for the National Park Service before turning to a 30-year long career in commercial photography. In 2016, however, Standart turned his attention to the city of New London, CT, creating a series of portraits of its citizens, particularly new immigrants. He exhibited the monumental images throughout New London, a process he repeated again in New Haven in 2018 in an exhibit called WE ARE – A Nation of Immigrants. This month he installed 42 of the portraits on the Hotchkiss campus. Standart writes, “What the portraits ask us to consider are the conditions that drive immigrants from the familiarity of their homes to risk all to survive, to have a better life, a future for their families, and a chance to realize their own individual genius.”
Unlike Standart and Blagden, Stephen Toll came to photography after a career as a manager and consultant for tech companies. Toll, who grew up on a Connecticut farm, always loved the outdoors and he photographs to give us that same joy. He writes, “I try to immerse the viewer visually and emotionally in my images, creating a feeling of “virtual presence.” His photographs are of California, the Southwest, Alaska, and Maine.
The three photographers’ work is on display through October 14. The Main Building exhibits are open to the public Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about this and other arts events at The Hotchkiss School, phone (860) 435-4423.