Future Friends was the title of the first of a handful of gatherings that occurred, bringing members of an unnamed underground together for a weekend of music, art, camping, and cooking. It was named in the hopes that any stranger you met there could potentially become a future friend. The photographs in this show by Ports Bishop were taken at this first festival as well as at a subsequent get-together the following year. There will be eight large, mounted prints, most of which are portraits, which are Bishop’s specialty. There is one landscape, a photograph of a field at dusk, which embodies the freedom from the constraints of mainstream daily life which these underground heroes typically retreat from. There is also a photo of a stack of music speakers and amplifiers, a special set-up of the one man noise band Kites, in the middle of a grassy forest lawn. The irony or improbability of such a combination charges the piece with a quiet energy. On one gallery wall, there will be a collage of smaller unmounted photographs from the series to let viewers experience more faces and events from these gatherings, as if they, themselves were walking through the fields and nodding “hello” to each of them.
Many of the portraits are of people who normally shun public spotlight; people who purposefully choose to live life away from the fast track. Most are from the Providence underground or are in some way related or intertwined with the scene there that has spawned numerous costumed, day-glo, art/music freaks like Lightning Bolt, Forcefield, and Dearraindrop. Being of the scene since his early days at college in Boston, Bishop was able to capture the humanity in each of his subjects; taking them in as unique individuals, as only a friend can do. Bishop did not originally intend to take these photographs to show publicly. It had been more of a personal project, his own kind of family snap shots from an era in his life that he was sure needed to be remembered.