There are few things in life that photographer Frank ArmstronglovesmorethanheadingoutfromhisWestBoylston, Massachusetts home and driving the backroads of America at 35 miles an hour in search of a unique piece of Americana, drawn by the curiosity of what he might find.
“Nothing else but curiosity. I’m just nosey,” said Armstrong prior to the opening of his “American Roadsides: Frank Armstrong’s Photographic Legacy” exhibition at the Fitchburg Art Museum. “I just like to get out there and see what’s there. Once I got out there, I found there was interesting stuff.”
Featuring photographs taken between 2012 and 2021, and chosen by Fitchburg Art Museum Director Nick Capasso, who curated his portion of the exhibition, Armstrong shares the spotlight with six of his former students at Clark University (where he has taught analog and digital photography since 1999) and one from the University of Texas at Austin, whose work was curated by FAM’s Terrana AssistantCurator, Marjorie Rawle.
Armstrong drives and drives and drives, always looking for his next discovery. You can practically hear his tires screeching to a halt during a 2015 drive through “Seward, Alaska” when he noticed a car balanced on top of the remains of a battered tree, a huge pink sign for “Eads Auto” attached to its top with “Open Sundays” painted on its side in the same pink paint, standing out in front of an otherwise stunning backdrop of forest and a cloud and snow- covered mountain top.
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