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Panoramas That Beckon the Viewer to Enter

Photographs by Archy LaSalle take you places - not only in the geographical sense, but in the sense of the moment, where form meets fantasy.

The award-winning photographer and teacher, based in Boston, has rendered black-and-white landscapes for nearly 20 years, and his works are in collections ranging from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and the Museum of Fine Arts, Havana.

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A modest showing of some of LaSalle's outstanding works is currently on view at the Gallery at University Lutheran Church in Cambridge, Mass. (through June 10). The exhibit, "Form: Architecture and Landscape," whisks you away to perfect vistas - from the Palais Royale in France to the Garden Fidelia in Italy or the Ruggles Street Station in Boston.

While the places may be vastly different, LaSalle's perspectives point up a universal beauty in line, shape, and form. "It's not just about the subject, it's about the form that subject is reflecting back to me," he says.

Viewers find they want to spend time with his photos - walking in and out of them, so to speak.

"They're very intimate," says LaSalle, who almost always photographs in early morning. "When you come back, you see things that weren't there the first time."

LaSalle uses a 1948 35-mm Widelux camera that has a field of 140 degrees. It's not for panoramic shots, he says. "Its format is closest to the way I see naturally."

LaSalle has plans to revisit Italy. He will likely come back with only five to 10 photos - out of 120 to 150 rolls - that meet his criteria. "I use film as a sketch pad," he explains.

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