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Colby-Sawyer College to Host Artist and Scholar Lecture Series: The Photography of Nicholas Gaffney

NEW LONDON, N.H., Feb. 15, 2011 – Colby-Sawyer College will host “The Photography of Nicholas Gaffney” as part of the 2010-11 Artist and Scholar Lecture Series. Nicholas Gaffney, assistant professor of Fine and Performing Arts, will present both past and recent work and discuss the subjects and techniques of this photography.

The presentation will take place in Hicks Alumni Lounge at the Ware Campus Center on Tuesday, March 15 from 12-1 p.m. Admission to this event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Gaffney, who earned his MFA from Pratt Institute, says that his color photography is typically unaltered, which allows his audience to process the entire photograph rather than focus on a specific subject that has been accentuated by digital manipulation. Over the last four years, Gaffney has concentrated on documenting landscapes where natural and manufactured worlds intersect. He photographs these “collisions” between the artificial and natural by creating subjects out of habitats in zoos, parks and even the landscapes of big-box stores and the woods that surround them.

In the past, Gaffney's photography centered on childhood objects he had placed in natural landscapes. “My photographs were an attempt both to understand and laugh at [the object's] relationship to the natural world, but also try to take them seriously in the ways that I did when I was a child,” he says. Gaffney's current work documents a concept similar to that of his dioramas, but concerns the juxtaposition of the man-made world and nature on a much larger scale. Gaffney explains, “Instead of creating my own fantasy world with plastic objects, I'm taking a look at the fantasy world we've created for ourselves.”

Gaffney, drawn to photography for its ability to seemingly represent reality in an accurate manner, believes that the medium allows photographers to develop their own visual language that encourages viewers to look at the world with new perspective. He understands that photography has the ability to document and preserve important events and eras, and his work reflects the conflict in current era of humans re-creating and taking over the natural world.

For information about other upcoming events at Colby-Sawyer College, visit

-Jessica McLavey '10

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Learn more about the college's vibrant teaching and learning community at Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000