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Watertown photographer evokes images of U.S. through flags

Watertown library hosts exhibition

Brian currier

“The Fabric of a Year’’ exhibition in Watertown includes a photo of the service for Specialist Jonathan Curtis in Belmont.

Brian Currier never set out to photograph flags. It wasn’t until his wife started putting together a portfolio for him to submit to a gallery that the theme emerged.

“I was looking through the photos she’d chosen, and I noticed there were so many flags. My wife mentioned it as well. I didn’t even know that when I was taking them,’’ the Watertown photographer said.

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“But once it came up, I started thinking about why I might be drawn to flags. And it seemed to be tied to my family’s history. My grandfather landed on the beaches of Normandy. My Uncle Bobby was in the Battle of Inchon in Korea. I realized maybe what I was shooting with my camera was subconsciously meant to make up for something.

“Every young boy grows up with a certain sense of duty related to the feeling that they should join the military. I didn’t serve, but my father, my uncle, my grandfather, and cousins all did. So this exhibit feels like my way of paying tribute to their service.’’

The show of his photographs, called “The Fabric of a Year,’’ is on display this month at the Watertown Free Public Library.

All of the photos were taken in the course of the past year. Some came from a protest against the Libyan government in Boston’s Copley Square. One photo depicts a veteran at a Memorial Day parade in Belmont, and another from the same town shows Trapelo Road lined with American flags during the funeral for a soldier who died in Afghanistan saving other soldiers’ lives. There’s also an image of a flag at a historical reenactment on the Lexington Green.

Even those photos not overtly related to governmental or military action contain flag imagery, Currier pointed out. One of the images he considers to be most poignant comes from Vermont, where he traveled after Tropical Storm Irene to view the flooding. “I saw so much devastation there, but flags were still hanging. I have one shot of a flag covered with mud - but it’s still flying despite the total destruction. And it wasn’t even something I was aware I was looking for.’’

Normally, Currier is a portrait photographer who specializes in creative imagery and unique depictions of his subjects. But he is grateful for the serendipity this exhibit created, giving him a fresh perspective on his work.

“The American flag stands for something very positive,’’ Currier said. “It’s a rallying point throughout the world. I don’t want to come across as overly patriotic, but we’re in a time where a lot of people look down on our flag. Yet so much has happened over the past year that makes the flag something to look up to, from the capture of Osama bin Laden to the US’s role in the overthrow of Moammar Khadafy.’’

“The Fabric of a Year’’ is on display until Dec. 31 in the T. Ross Kelly Family Gallery at the Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main St. For hours and more information, call 617-972-6431 or go to www.watertownlib.org.

POPULAR DEMAND: The wildly popular “Sing-along Sound of Music’’ returns to the Regent Theatre in Arlington for school vacation week, with eight screenings of the interactive version - including lyrics shown as subtitles - of the film musical Monday through Friday.

Each show starts with a vocal warm-up led by the master of ceremonies, who will also offer tips on using the “magic moments pack’’ included with admission, and lead a parade featuring costume-clad members of the audience.

General admission tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and children, and $10 for Regent members and groups of 10 or more. For show times, tickets, directions to the theater at 7 Medford St., and more information, call 781-646-4849 or visit www.regenttheatre.com.

MUSICAL ALTERNATIVE: Had enough of piped-in Christmas carols? Stop by the Village Forge Tavern in Concord’s Colonial Inn tomorrow to hear the Tom Yates Group play its repertoire of 1960s and 1970s Woodstock-inspired music.

The show will run 8 to 11 p.m. at the inn, 48 Monument Square in Concord. No cover charge. For more information, call 978-369-9200.

Send ideas for the Arts column to westarts@globe.com.
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