HARTFORD, Conn. — The Clare Gallery at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church here is displaying photos by Octavio Duran, OFM, from Aug. 7 through Oct. 5.
Coinciding with the Feast of St. Clare on Aug. 11, Octavio’s “Through the Franciscan Lens” exhibit features color photos taken during his world travels ministering to the poor and needy, many shot in his native El Salvador.
“It was difficult to choose the photos for this exhibit because of the theme, ‘Through the Franciscan Lens,’ ” said Octavio. “However, because of the theme, I looked for pictures that convey Franciscan values such as love, compassion, charity, justice, ecology and fraternity. Love for all creation in the midst of the imperfections of the world. Choosing pictures was not an easy task. It was much easier to take the pictures than to choose photos for this exhibit.”
Photos Document Life
The photos offer a transformative way to connect viewers to the subjects he has photographed. Octavio has traveled throughout the world, documenting the life and plight of hundreds of people in a diversity of locales. In general, his photos are sensitive and engaging portraits of people, places and events that he encounters, ministering to the poor and underprivileged of the world, said Nancy Wynn, chair of the parish’s Clare Gallery Committee.
One particularly engaging photo shows a toddler wearing a sombrero sitting on a grave at a cemetery. On November first, children visit the graves of deceased children and spend time at the graves of loved ones, he said. The picture was taken in Mexico during a commemoration of El Dia de los Muertos (All Souls Day, or Day of the Death).
Octavio: a Trained Photojournalist
Octavio’s work has been featured in St. Anthony Messenger, Maryknoll Magazine and Orbis Books. The trained photojournalist has also contributed photos to Catholic News Service and the Catholic News Reporter. His photos of Archbishop Oscar Romero brought him international recognition. For the Province, he is art director of The Anthonian magazine, the publication of St. Anthony’s Guild.
“Of course, I like some pictures better than others,” said Octavio, a resident of East Rutherford, N.J. “Some have sentimental value. Some are unique. I feel like after 30 years of taking pictures, I have recorded history through film and digital format.”
Octavio’s work is viewable during gallery hours, Mondays to Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The exhibit is free.
The Clare Gallery primarily features exhibitions that emphasize world religions or interfaith themes, as well as social justice creative works, said Wynn.