Stephen DiRado’s Dinner Series
Fitchburg Art Museum Curators: Kristina Durocher and Stephen Jareckie
For more than thirty-two years, Worcester photographer Stephen DiRado (born 1957) has turned his 8x10 view camera on family, friends, and members of his community.
The Dinner Series began as a photographic record of the meal and the people present. Eventually it evolved to include a thoughtful, complex investigation of human relationships. Used to DiRado’s omnipresent camera and momentary disruptions from the intense light from flashbulbs, his dinner companions are at ease and unguarded. DiRado captures the ever-changing dynamics, mood, and dramas present at all such gatherings around a table.
Neither straight documentations nor spontaneous snapshots, DiRado’s keen observation during a meal dictates the outcome of his narrative. He discreetly directs his subjects to hold a pose—selected, a re-created moment chosen for its visual merits as much as for the emotion it conveys. By using a remote shutter release, the artist often photographs himself as part of the scene.
In this series, DiRado’s deep affection for his subjects guides his intimate portrayal of them. They, in turn, allow him access to private moments, sharing with him their sorrows, successes, and passions. And yet, the Dinner Series reveals as much about the artist as it does his subjects. With help from his family and friends, DiRado presents the unfinished narrative of his life.