Exhibit’s Focus: Father, Time

Steven Brunia of Ames is the subject of a photo exhibit by his daughter, photographer Stephanie Brunia, in which she explores her anxieties about seeing him aging.

“Thursday’s Child,” a collection of tenderly captivating photographs created by Stephanie Brunia, is the most recent exhibit in the “Art in the Cafe” at the State Historical Building. The exhibit opens Friday, Feb. 3, with a free reception from 5 to 7 p.m. in Cafe Baratta’s on the building’s third floor.

Brunia, 32, a native of Ames, returned to Iowa after earning an MFA degree from the University of New Mexico in 2012. Struck by the recognition that her father was aging, she began creating the photos that became her “Thursday’s Child” exhibit, documenting what she calls “the circle of love,” as their interaction changes and she begins to care for the father who cared for her as a child. Implicit in the imagery is, as she says, “acknowledging that this person will not be there forever.”

Now a visiting instructor of photography at the University of Iowa, Brunia photographs her father, Steve, 65, in her studio in Oxford and at his home in Ames.

In those photographs, she uses gestures to explore her anxieties about her father’s aging. In one image, she wraps her hair across his face, an abstract gesture suggesting her desire to shield and protect him. In another, she strokes his wrinkled brow, as if attempting to erase evidence of his aging.

“He’s always been a fixture in my life,” she says, “and the awareness I felt went from knowing he is aging to seeing and feeling it.”

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