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Photographer from Wauwatosa makes art interactive

June 17, 2014

In preparing to take a photo, Wauwatosa resident Frankie Suzanne Garr will sometimes stand still on a street corner or among a crowd until she becomes almost part of the scenery. Then she'll focus her lens on an unsuspecting subject and snap the shutter before they know what happened.

"They're unaware I've captured them in this kind of dreamlike state," Garr said. "I try to blend into the background as much as possible. I try to be very quiet and observant."

She doesn't use a zoom lens, so sometimes she has to get quite close while trying to stay unnoticed. Her goal is to capture people in "reveries," as she titled her photo series that will be on display at Bridgetowne Framing Gallery in the Village from June 20 to July 18.

Although Garr works at Quad/Graphics in what she calls her day job, she has traveled to several continents on leisure and service trips, capturing a wide array of subjects lost in their thoughts and dreams. Countries featured include Ecuador, Cuba, Bhutan, Morocco, Uganda, Nepal, Spain, Ireland and France, as well as the United States.

Sometimes Garr thinks she knows what's on the mind of her subjects, like the ones she worked with on humanitarian trips. Others, she can only guess at. When she presents her show Friday, she hopes she won't be the only one guessing.

On the second floor of Bridgetowne, in a new gallery space, Garr plans to leave gaps between her photographs for hanging ropes. There, visitors can attach papers recording their opinions about what the people in the photographs are thinking about.

"It's kind of like trying to interact with that image and that person, instead of just looking at images on a wall," Garr said.

She hopes the ropes and papers encourage people to see the photographs from different perspectives.

"Art is so subjective that I'm really curious to see what other people see," she said. "A lot of times you go to an exhibition and there's a conversation between the person and themselves, or with the person they go with, and you never hear it. That's never really gotten out in the public."

If you go

What: opening reception of "Reveries" photo gallery

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 20

Where: Bridgetowne Framing Gallery, 7734 Harwood Ave.

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