David Prifti

Tintypes/Photographic Assemblages

David Prifti once wrote that is was his desire to explore his life through the things that shaped his life. These formative elements were his relationships, his memories, his sense of family, rites of passage, aging and death. The creative process that led to all of his photographs was indirectly a very personal journey for him. In 2011, David Prifti died at age fifty of pancreatic cancer. This marked the end of a renowned photographic career and 25 years of teaching at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School. Of his photographic assemblages Prifti said, “Through the juxtaposition of images, found objects and ephemera, I create autobiographical associations that become symbolic, conveying a sense of personal history and the passage of time. The reusing of old materials allows me to resurrect them into a new form.” In 2005 he developed a new process, albeit one popular in the 19th century. Shooting with large-format wet-plate collodion emulsions on glass, Prifti made tintype portraits of students, friends, and acquaintances. Long exposure times required great concentration from both artist and subject, producing psychologically charged images. The imperfections that often occur on the edges of the plates only add to their precious quality and mediate the intensity of the images. “What begins with an attention to the physical appearance of the subject develops into an evolving exploration of the sitter and myself”.