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project description 

A Portrait of the Berkshires Project

A Portrait of the Berkshires Project draws upon the rich but short-lived tradition of American itinerant painters. I am seeking Berkshire residents and visitors interested in having their portrait painted. These images reveal the contemporary character and diversity of life in the Berkshires and mirror work done by traveling artists of the 18th century who produced the icons of their era. 

Viewing a portrait, it is easy to believe we know things about the person in the picture. But what if we were to compare what we think we know about a person based on his portrayal with what he says about himself? How often might our assumptions be wrong? What can portraiture tell one about herself in the role of viewer and consumer of images?

These are paintings of neighbors and friends, visitors and passersby that will produce a portrait record of this region that is in dialogue with traditional paintings passed down by early-American itinerant painters. Nearly 200 people have sat for photographs already. I would like others that are interested to become a part of this project!

I am no less interested in contemporary concerns of identity and its construction in culture by images. I want to portray not just the way that people who participate in the project present themselves but also what they say about themselves, their identity and connections to the various communities within the Berkshires.

If you are interested in participating, just call Edward Cating. There is no charge for any aspect of this project.

I will take several photographs and you will receive an archival print on cotton rag paper in return for your time and permission to display your likeness. Print out the permission form, fill it out and bring it with you to your sitting!

If you are one of the many that have taken time to drive to North Adams for a portrait session, thank you. If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to tell us about yourself!


                          Copyright 2003 - 2004 Edward Cating. All rights reserved.