BLOOMSBURG—The Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Haas Gallery of Art will host a retrospective exhibit with 40 years of photography by BU professor Vera Viditz-Ward from June 22 to Sept. 21, 2017. The show will encompass the work from professional freelance career to 30 years of teaching photography at Bloomsburg University. A reception will be held Sept. 21, 11-2 p.m., with an artist lecture at 1:15 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
Through her photographs, Viditz-Ward explores and documents the culture and lives of West Africans both in their countries and throughout the Diaspora. Her early work began in Sierra Leone, West Africa with free-lance photography assignments for various state ministries and international agencies. Traveling throughout Sierra Leone, she documented projects in rural development, public health and grass roots education. During these assignments, Viditz-Ward discovered peoples and cultures steeped in rich and varied historical and artistic traditions. These early photographs became the visual notes for future photographic projects. Since then, her goal has been to produce photographic portfolios that went beyond the stereotypical Western images of Africans.
“In recent years a new trend has developed among some fine art photographers concerned with non-western cultures,” Viditz-Ward wrote. “Without sacrificing personal vision, they consciously strive to document people and places in an empathetic and non-judgmental manner. My approach to making photographs is quite direct. The work fits within this photographic genre, as I am conscious of my position in the evolution of attitudes and approaches of western photographers towards the ‘other.'
“I participate in the daily routines of my hosts to the greatest extent possible, Viditz-Ward continued. “All my photographic projects and intentions are discussed with the people in the photographs. Their concerns are addressed and their approval of their photograph is a requirement for its use.”
Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 9,600 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.