In partnership with the Vermont Folklife Center, Highland Center for the Arts presents Driving the Back Roads: In Search of Old-Time Vermonters in The Gallery, beginning September 21.
This retrospective of photographer Ethan Hubbard’s time in north central Vermont showcases more than 40 of Hubbard’s large-format black and white photographic portraits—pulled from some 600 rolls of film that he shot across five decades. Audio excerpts from 125 of Hubbard’s tape recordings and interviews are available as well—in some instances paired with a portrait of the speaker, while others play as ambient sounds filling gallery spaces with thick accents, laughter, and at times, gentle, intimate conversations.
In barns and fields, from forest walks to kitchen tables, Hubbard’s photographic portraits and audio recordings transport the viewer to rural Vermont and to the moments he shared with the people he met there.
Hubbard as documentarian is not an objective observer. His colorful storytelling gives us personality and relationship in place of objectivity. As a result, Hubbard gives us perhaps a more honest picture of these people through the unapologetic vantage of his direct experiences among them.
“I love Vermont’s past, I love Vermont at the present, and I look forward to what the future brings to us here in these Green Mountains,” writes Hubbard. “There are generations of Vermonters still to come and they carry the seeds of what matters most: family, community, and tradition. The light in the mountains cannot be extinguished. It’s been lit too long.”
Driving the Back Roads: In Search of Old-Time Vermonters runs from September 21 through December 2. For more information, visit highlandartsvt.org