Image credit: Jennifer Zwick
The Photographic Center NW > Blog

PCNW’s Holiday Gift Guide

LOOKING FOR HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS?

Give the gift of photography! Whether you’re looking to learn a new skill, add a print to your collection, or support the burgeoning photographer in your home we have something for everyone. Winter is a great time to dive into a creative practice and Photographic Center  Northwest (PCNW) offers many ways to learn and engage with photography, including through many online classes and workshops, so we hope you’ll make PCNW your resource this season.

GIVE THE GIFT OF ART!

To Survive on this Shore book cover. Cover photo by Jess T. Dugan


BOOKS

Shop the PCNW book store! Staff recommendations include To Survive on This Shore, by Jess T. Dugan & Vanessa Fabbre (PCNW’s upcoming winter exhibition), Natural Deceptions, by Natalie Krick, and A Brave New Normal – Photographic Zine

Detail of Henry Horenstein limited edition print



PRINTS

By shopping our selection of limited edition prints, you will be supporting both PCNW and the artist! Staff favorites include Erin Shafkind, King Kong Fancy Pants, 2008 and Richard Renaldi, Faith, Newark, New Jersey, 2001

GIVE A CUSTOM PRINT!

Photo by Sandy King

CUSTOM PRINTS FROM OUR PRINT SERVICE

Did you know that PCNW offers online printing services through our Digital Lab? This service allows users to e‐mail files directly to our Digital Lab to be printed by our staff.


**HOLIDAY SPECIAL!**

11×14 print size w/ matte board and sleeve
$25 each, shipping included
Submit files to printing@pcnw.org via WeTransfer

Deadline for guaranteed holiday delivery:
Sunday, December 13th


GIVE THE GIFT OF EXPERIENCE

Photo by Robert Wade

GIFT A MEMBERSHIP!

Members receive benefits including discounts on education offerings, facilities rentals and gallery purchases; opportunities for professional development and exhibition, and invitations to special member events.



**LIMITED TIME OFFER!**

20% discount on winter quarter class tuition for PCNW members. 

Ends November 30th!

GIFT CERTIFICATES!

Have a fellow photo-enthusiast in your life, or wondering what to tell others to get you? PCNW has gift certificates available!

September 2020 Member Showcase

It’s time for our September Member Showcase. This month, we are shining the light on Neil Berkowitz, a PCNW Member since 2014 who explores place identity through his images.

Neil Berkowitz – Member since 2014

What are you working on?

Although I continue to produce other new work, such as the individual pieces that I am submitting this month (all from this summer), I am currently pursuing two major projects. The one that I will mention now is “Neither Here nor There,” which continues a two year exploration of place identity. The single, large work (17″ x 137″) in my project is a continuous photographic print. It is composed of six side by side elements, each of which is composed of three or four photographic layers. that connects my home city with 13 other places in six countries. The fact that five of the component elements include layers involving museums is intended to suggest that art, too, offers pathways to peace. All components feature the same base layer, from Seattle, that serves as a lateral roadway between them. Should I be able to secure funding to do so, my ideal presentation of this work would be as a closed loop, 17″ high and 49″ in diameter, mounted on a column or pedestal.

Artist Statement

Much of my recent work reflects my interest in applying digital precision to the traditional technique of multiple exposure in an effort to produce work that builds upon the way that individuals process experience by connecting different moments and experiences into understanding, situating, and remembering their lives and surroundings.

I value multiple layered works for reasons beyond its connection to a traditional yet marginal technique and the similarity of the process to the way we grasp our experiences. There is a tremendous range of aesthetic possibility in the blending of layers, yielding transparency, texture, and color that would be unattainable in most single-layered work. Employing this process also inserts a particular intentionality into the photographer’s creative process that now enters earlier and in a less response-based way than is usual with photography.

It is the liberty of this process that makes viewers question whether the works are photography. For me, the answer is clearly, yes, they are. They are captured light and form. They begin with a camera and end with a digital darkroom process that utilizes digital equivalents of what I used to do in the darkroom–but with greater precision and power. And as with the powerful reportage photography that I grew up admiring, they ask us to observe and to make sense of what is around us with greater attentiveness.

To learn more about Neil’s  photography, click here

We send a big thank you to Neil for submitting his work this month! If you’re a member of PCNW and would like to share your creative endeavors, we’d love to hear from you. Complete our online form by the 15th of every month and a jury will review your work for consideration. Not a PCNW Member yet? You can join online today!

August 2020 Member Showcase

Check out our newest Member Showcase! This August, we are excited to shine the spotlight on two PCNW Members (one brand new this year!) and their current photography projects.

WHITNEY GILKERSON – member since 2020

What are you working on?

I have started documenting this year through street photography, focusing particularly on the loneliness and uncertainty of present times. I just completed the Street Photography course and finished with a first book of this project. I plan to continue working on it throughout the entire year- perhaps expanding outside Seattle and further into Washington or elsewhere.

Artist Statement

This is simply my effort to make some sense of this year. We are alone but supposedly together. Law has broken down into disorder. We are stalked by an invisible enemy that lingers in the hugs of friends and the handle of the gas pump. Hate is having a heyday. Hypocrisy isn’t going down without a fight. Racism marches bold in the streets. Weary resistance continues. Black lives matter now and always did. Doctors go to work wearing trash bags. We hold our breath, we count our breaths, we fill our lungs deeper than before, we sigh and we try not to cough. Outside the birds sing as ever, the sun shines and the rain falls as it always does in Seattle. Authority tightens its grip day by day. Sometimes it’s so quiet, sometimes too frantic.

After taking months where I went to work and home, home and work, otherwise in quarantine, waiting for the impending cough to appear, I had to get out. I had to go out and take photos again. Why not? I had already marched with a thousand other people. I had worked for months in a hospital. And here I was, still well though maybe a little bruised, a lot lonely, and more tired than I had ever been in my life. I took to the streets, walking out my anxiety, my eyes and mind occupied. All I had to do was look. I enjoyed roaming again, my eyes searching for the same anxiety, the same weariness, the same loneliness that I had been experiencing. I suppose I was looking for an odd kind of companionship. I found it everywhere I went. It was amongst my fellow human beings, more vulnerable than I had remembered- beautiful and cruel and stupid and innocent and kind and hungry and brave and sad and angry and desperate and lonesome and bored and freaking out. I also found that current of peace in the quiet, dutiful beauty of the smallest flower growing by the side of the road, unphased by traffic. It’s carried me through.

To learn more about Whitney’s  photography, click here


CHRIS VILLIERS – member since 2017

What are you working on?

I recently completed a series of 21 platinum-toned kallitypes prints from Chief Sealth’s gravesite in Suquamish, WA. The series, called “They Named Our City for Him,” explores a number of issues including:

– The historical treatment of indigenous peoples (both here in the United States and around the globe),

– The impact of past pandemics on Native Americans,

– The risks currently facing disenfranchised populations,

– Current attitudes in the age of Donald Trump,

– The sense or mortality that unites all of us, and

– Basic human emotions of love and affection

I started this project about three and a half years, and studied alternative processes at PCNW because I wanted to use a printing technique that harkens back to the period when Chief Sealth was alive.

Artist Statement


On the Port Madison Indian Reservation, less than 15 miles across the water from Seattle, is the gravesite of the Native American chief for whom the city was named.

Still in use today, the old cemetery rests behind the white clapboard church of St. Peter Catholic Mission. Unlike many cemeteries, this one isn’t perfectly manicured. It’s a bit messy like life itself. Weeds grow. The ground is uneven. Flags mark most headstones. Family members and nearby residents leave gifts to honor both the recently passed and distant ancestors.

During the past few years, as I crossed Puget Sound to visit my father who is now well into his 90s, I’ve stopped at the graveyard at different times of day and in different seasons to photograph headstones and document gifts left behind.

In these platinum-toned kallitype prints, I have tried to respect the fact that Native Americans consider their ancestors’ graves sacred while also pointing out how, in my culture, few think twice about wandering away from the tombs of our forefathers. I have tried to reflect on the fleeting nature of our lives, especially as my father approaches his own centenary. And, most of all, I’ve tried to honestly reflect on history.

To learn more about Chris’  photography, click here


Thank you to Whitney and Chris for sharing their work with our community! If you’re a member of PCNW and would like to share your creative endeavors, we’d love to hear from you. Complete our online form and a jury will review your work for consideration of inclusion in upcoming online showcases and satellite exhibitions. Complete by the 15th of every month to be considered for the next spotlight! Not a PCNW Member yet? You can join online today!

June 2020 Member Showcase

In addition to joining a robust community of artists, PCNW Members receive benefits including discounts on education offerings, facilities rentals and gallery purchases; opportunities for professional development and exhibition, and invitations to special member events. And starting this month, an opportunity to be highlighted in our Member Showcase! This June, we are excited to shine the spotlight on three PCNW Members and their current photography projects.

DELTON YOUNG – member since 2020

What are you working on?

For many years, I have been snowshoeing far into the snowy mountains in winter. These are often places of exceptional beauty. Over the past year, I have worked to convey the austere elegance of these landscapes in photographic images.

To learn more about Delton’s photography, click here

MATTHEW RAGEN – member since 2016

What are you working on?

“One Mile Of Hamilton Avenue” is a project that I’ve been adding to over the last four – five years when I visit my father-in-law. I’ve driven along this street for years as it is a shortcut with few traffic lights and one of the most nicely paved roads in Detroit with few potholes.

Artist Statement

Overlooked in the urban core of Detroit is a once proud avenue that now consists of empty lots, liquor stores, and abandoned buildings that have often fallen victim to arson. “One Mile Of Hamilton Avenue” explores the urban decay that extends between McNichols Road and Oakman Boulevard. The images in this set show the Hamilton Garage and Jimmy’s Custom Cleaners to a number of buildings that no longer have a name. Some day, Hamilton Avenue will experience the renovation and renewal that Woodward Avenue is undergoing less than half a mile away. Until then, the avenue is a street that is often overlooked.

To learn more about Matthew’s photography, click here.

JUDITH LECKRONE LEE – member since 2018

What are you working on?

I was recently enrolled in Elisa Huerta-Enochian’s workshop, Sharing Your Photography and getting helpful insight on a new series called “My Father’s Landscape” which include images of Yuma, Arizona and the surrounding landscape. I also was able to get more eyes on a previously finished project, “A Transcontinental Love Affair” which is included here.

Artist Statement

Through a Train Window: A Transcontinental Love Affair

Riding the Amtrak train from New York to Seattle, I was unexpectedly smitten by the intimate and expansive views of modest towns, rough and secluded settlements spattered on the land, empty back roads, working farms and ranches, slow moving waters, wide open fields and forgotten urban backsides. I wanted to know these honest and unpretentious working and quiet landscapes and towns, but all I could do was take pictures of them as they slipped by. It was an unexpected intense connection. Like the first nights with a new lover, I could barely sleep – waking in the middle of the night to be reassured that it’s all still there outside my window, grateful for our slow transit across the continent. During these troubling times when I have felt such painful disappointment in it, this experience reassured me that I can still feel deep love for my country.

To learn more about Judith’s photography, click here.


Thank you to PCNW Members Delton, Matthew and Judith for sharing your work with our community! If you’re a member of PCNW and would like to share with us your creative endeavors, we’d love to hear from you. Complete our online form and a jury will review your work for consideration of inclusion in upcoming online showcases and satellite exhibitions. Complete by the 15th of every month to be considered for the next months’ spotlight. 

Not a PCNW Member yet? You can join online today!

An Interview with Suzanne Engelberg

Suzanne Engelberg is an exhibiting artist in PCNW’s 23rd annual juried exhibition, curated by Kris Graves.


Handstand, 2015
Archival pigment print
Edition 1/5
$800 
Please contact Erin Spencer at espencer@pcnw.org with questions or to purchase.

Tell us about the work that was selected to be included in Distinction by Kris Graves.

I am especially interested in interpretative landscape photography and the manner in which color, light and form coalesce to create an image. My photograph in this exhibition, Handstand, was taken in San Francisco, as I was exploring the architecture in the Yerba Buena area. The spontaneous handstand by a passerby elevated this image from a depiction of the wonderful geometry of the urban landscape to a joyful expression of human interaction with a city environment.

Who / what are your biggest influences?

Most of my work focuses on the natural world, rather than the urban environment presented here. One of my earliest inspirations for photography is Michael Kenna. I’m greatly enamored by his minimalist imagery, the beauty of simplicity and symmetry in his photographs and the strong sense of design in his work. Despite the fact that Handstand is obviously not an ephemeral black and white image of the landscape, which typifies Kenna’s work, the elements of minimalism, symmetry and design are still very much present here. I have also been strongly inspired by both Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, for the incredible knowledge and passion they bring to teaching and for the amazing poetry they are able to create in their work.

PCNW’s annual juried call for entry provides exhibition opportunities for artists and directly supports our programs, scholarships, and labs at PCNW. This helps ensure access to photography for many future generations of creatives. We know you have many options for submitting your work, so please tell us why you chose PCNW? What are your thoughts and experience with submitting your work to different calls?

Over the past eight years, I have been fortunate to have exhibited my work in over 100 exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, and have been the recipient of numerous awards. I was particularly drawn to submitting my work to PCNW because I have been consistently impressed with the innovative work that PCNW shows. I was honored to have an image in the show Punctum in 2015, juried by Julia Dolan, curator of the Portland Art Museum at that time and I’m delighted to again participate in an exhibit at PCNW.

An Interview with Sheri Lynn Behr

Sheri Lynn Behr is an exhibiting artist in PCNW’s 23rd annual juried exhibition, curated by Kris Graves.


BKLYN-2, from the series “NoMatterWhere,” 2013
Archival pigment print
Edition 1/8
$525
Please contact Erin Spencer at espencer@pcnw.org with questions or to purchase.

Tell us about yourself, where you’re from, and when you first discovered your love of photography.

I’m from the Bronx, NY, and currently living in New York City again after several years away. I started taking pictures when I was pretty young, and I never stopped. I photographed rock and roll concerts, worked with Polaroid film, and started doing computer-enhanced photography really early. My work still shifts back and forth between highly manipulated images and recognizable documentary-style photographs like this one.

Tell us about the work that was selected to be included in Distinction by Kris Graves.

Whenever you look up, especially in a city, it seems there are always surveillance cameras watching. I photograph them in a graphically interesting environment, so people will see them and pay attention. Brooklyn-2 has been exhibited several times, and is now in the permanent collection of the Colorado Photographic Arts Center. 

Is the selected work part of a larger body of work?

Brooklyn-2 is from my series “NoMatterWhere,” which is part of a bigger project about surveillance and privacy, “BeSeeingYou.”

Who / what are your biggest influences?

These days, I’d have to say: The Russian Avant-Garde, for the graphic sensibility found in the paintings and photographs of the era. Edward Weston, because of what he could make out of a pepper. And Jeff Brouws, as I really admire his typologies depicting the American cultural landscape.

Are you making work in response to the current pandemic?

I am working on a project called Travel by Television while self-isolating. Photographing off a TV screen is often part of my process; there’s a part of my surveillance project that features the cameras that appear in all genres of television shows. Since I’m stuck at home, I’ve turned to my TV to let me travel the world. I even got to visit Seattle! 

You can find the images on Facebook, or on my Instagram, @slbehr

PCNW’s annual juried call for entry provides exhibition opportunities for artists and directly supports our programs, scholarships, and labs at PCNW. This helps ensure access to photography for many future generations of creatives. We know you have many options for submitting your work, so please tell us why you chose PCNW? What are your thoughts and experience with submitting your work to different calls? 

I love to be able to support institutions like PCNW, and I’ve been in a couple of your previous exhibitions. I wasn’t able to see those shows in person, and I was so thrilled to get this opportunity to finally come to Seattle. Then of course, the virus made that impossible. But I’m still proud my work was chosen by Kris Graves to be part of this wonderful exhibition.

An Interview with Richard K. Kent

Richard K. Kent is an exhibiting artist in PCNW’s 23rd annual juried exhibition, curated by Kris Graves.


New Holland & Franklin, 1st Series, 5X, Lancaster, PA
from the series “Lessons in Recursion,” 2014/15
Archival pigment print
Film capture (medium format)
Edition of 15
$1200
Please contact Erin Spencer at espencer@pcnw.org with questions or to purchase.

Tell us about yourself, where you’re from, and when you first discovered your love of photography.

I was born and raised in Bethlehem, PA. It still surprises me that I ended up having an academic career at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA—less than two hours from where I grew up.

I discovered black & white photography (pre-digital photography) in high school, and it became a primary activity and probably helped me survive the boarding school I attended. At Oberlin College, I continued making photographs, but at that time photography wasn’t offered as part of the studio art curriculum. Consequently, in my twenties and thirties I developed as a photographer pretty much on my own and by means of trial and error. During the years after college, alongside making pictures, I was steadily writing poems and occasionally publishing them. Photography and writing have been intertwined throughout my life.

Tell us about the work that was selected to be included in Distinction by Kris Graves.

New Holland & Franklin, 1st Series, 5X belongs to the large series “Lessons in Recursion.” Pictures from this city site in Lancaster, PA, differ from those made elsewhere at mostly rural locations because I appropriated an empty metal frame that presumably once contained a sign. Into the frame, I tie a glossy photograph of the prior iteration with its surrounding scene. Once the inserted image is tied in place and the camera positioned on the tripod, I let whatever activity occurring on the street or in the background enter the new exposures. As at other sites, successive visits yield subsequent iterations.

By lucky happenstance, this picture contains an unplanned allusion to one of the most famous early images in photographic history.

I made eight iterations when the metal frame stood, tethered to a nearby pole, in the place with its view down the street seen in the picture. Then, for reasons unknown to me, the frame was moved to face the expanse of an adjacent parking lot. I began a new series of iterations entitled, “New Holland & Franklin, 2nd Series”. I continue to make exposures, though the metal frame, an index itself of passing time, has lost most of its red paint and is only partially intact. 

Is the selected work part of a larger body of work?

“Lessons in Recursion” concerns place, time, and how introducing a recursive image of a scene alters our perception of ordinary landscape. One could say I’m interested in sanctifying the commonplace; and I admit to taking considerable delight in inserting a kind of visual marvel into places where people don’t expect such a thing. The recursive sequences I create at various sites intensify the visual dimension of time and become, in most cases, small installations available to passersby.

The series mostly involves photographing blank wooden signs—often where messages of “No Trespassing” once had been—discovered by chance along roadsides and then methodically re-photographing their images to create recursive progressions. The interior images of the repeated sign offer the viewer glimpses of past time and the transformation of place. My practice is to work at a site until it is no longer possible to do so (i.e., the wooden sign that served as the support for the recursive iterations vanishes or is destroyed).

The series’ exhibition prints are generated from scanned color positives (6X7cm transparencies) that are then digitally processed. Lessons in Recursion, in both subject matter and the means used to produce the final prints in color, differs from earlier series of pictures in black and white. It nevertheless reflects an abiding interest in the subject of ordinary landscape, the theme of temporal change, and the potential complexity of photographic representation.

My hope is to see the series eventually published as a book.

Who / what are your biggest influences?

I regard the study of English literature as an undergraduate and later the study of Asian cultural history (especially Buddhist thought) in graduate school as central to my making pictures. It took decades, though, for all the pieces of this puzzle to coalesce into something I now can appropriately call a photographic practice.

Since I usually work in long series of pictures that can continue for more than a decade, I have looked to other photographers who have done likewise. Photographers such as Emmet Gowin, Robert Adams, and Frank Gohlke have been a source of inspiration for work I have done about landscape and place. For more conceptual series that involved a certain amount of staging, I drew inspiration from the work of Abelardo Morell and Hiroshi Sugimoto. But I also have taken important cues from many other photographers whose work continues to have meaning for me–photographers as diverse as Eugėne Atget, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Mike Disfarmer.

Are you making work in response to the current pandemic?

For many years I’ve been documenting a 72-acre, public tract of woods near my home. It’s a fragile eco-system that increasingly is hemmed in by development and often subject to acts of vandalism. Now, during the current pandemic, it’s become a refuge for families who are visiting the woods and its trails for the first time. While I’ve been documenting some of the messages that these new visitors leave behind (kids’ chalk drawings in the parking lot or small rocks with uplifting messages left discreetly along several trails on Easter), I’ve found myself driven to track the blossoming of wild cherry trees along a less-known path, where my wife and I walk to avoid the now more frequented trails. Despite my long familiarity with the park, where I walk almost daily, I’d never realized there were so many stray flowering trees scattered throughout the woods. It is as if I’ve discovered a whole new dimension of the woods’ ecology. And, though it may sound old-fashioned, perhaps what most fuels my interest lies in finding a kind of hope in the sheer beauty of such spring blossoming during this time colored by worry or grief for so many.

PCNW’s annual juried call for entry provides exhibition opportunities for artists and directly supports our programs, scholarships, and labs at PCNW. This helps ensure access to photography for many future generations of creatives. We know you have many options for submitting your work, so please tell us why you chose PCNW? What are your thoughts and experience with submitting your work to different calls?

I submit work to juried exhibitions when the organizing institution and the juror strike me as highly reputable. Of course, one never can tell whether one’s work will prevail, especially because there’s a lot of good work being made. One has to be persistent and know that rejection is part of the experience. I’ve been fortunate to make work that answers an inner imperative but need not rely on it as a source of a livelihood.

An Interview with Peter Baker

Peter Baker is an exhibiting artist in PCNW’s 23rd annual juried exhibition, curated by Kris Graves.


Building for the People of the United States of America (Quality You Can Taste), Los Angeles, 2015
Archival pigment print
Edition 2/5
$3500
Please contact Erin Spencer at espencer@pcnw.org with questions or to purchase.

Tell us about yourself, where you’re from, and when you first discovered your love of photography.

My name is Peter Baker and I’m from The Bronx, New York. I really began photographing because I wanted to get out of my immediate neighborhood and explore the vastness of New York City. Having a camera allows you to go out into the world alone with no real reason. The first photographer’s work that really resonated with me was Berenice Abbott. I found a book of hers called Changing New York. I am interested in how cities change and photographing urban spaces that have an invisible history and unknowable future. She made complex, descriptive images of the city. There is a physicality to her work that I continue to relate to. 

Tell us about the work that was selected to be included in Distinction by Kris Graves.

The image selected for the show is called Building for the People of the United States of America (Quality You Can Taste), Los Angeles. The first part of the title was taken from a sign I saw advertising for the building under construction that you can see in the reflection of the image. It’s the new Los Angeles Federal Courthouse. I took the language of that sign as an ironic metaphor. Downtown Los Angeles has been undergoing a building boom but the reality is that it’s a boom for a certain class of people, and it further alienates the existing community, and especially the large homeless population. That building, now fully functioning, is an emblem of power and progress, guarded with armed security and surveillance. Everything about it is meant to keep people away. The man drinking from the water fountain is wearing an In-N-Out t-shirt that reads Quality You Can Taste, which I found interesting since he’s literally tasting the city’s water. He is surrounded by glass and is doubled in the reflection. Like much of my work, it’s an image about progress, about the present and the future, and the interplay of the physical and psychological. Then there are also the balloons. Like a party has ended. 

Is the selected work part of a larger body of work?

Yes, this is from an ongoing body of work under the working title “Current Treatment” and a future book called A Confrontation, Los Angeles. The work deals with urban space and its consequences. Most of downtown Los Angeles is private property that guises itself and continues to encroach on public space. I find this to be both bizarre and concerning, with psychological and physical consequences. The whole of downtown begins to feel more like a film set, an illusion of a city, rather than a city itself. And yet at the same time some very stark human and socio-economic realities play out in these spaces. This is the terrain I work within. 

Who / what are your biggest influences?

The most integral influence on my photographic work has always been reading fiction. I think about writers like Don DeLillo and JG Ballard. They both find ways to confront reality through fiction, and I think photography can do that as well. They are the people I would want to show my work to. There are many photographers I have studied and admire, especially Garry Winogrand, Jeff Wall, Luigi Ghirri, to name a few.  

Are you making work in response to the current pandemic?

I have used this time mostly to go through images and print in my studio. But I have gone out to photograph, yes. In many ways, my work is about a kind of social-distancing without the pandemic. When I am out in downtown LA or many other cities I see most people are distant from one another even within the same physical proximity. It’s a fundamental part of my work. 

PCNW’s annual juried call for entry provides exhibition opportunities for artists and directly supports our programs, scholarships, and labs at PCNW. This helps ensure access to photography for many future generations of creatives. We know you have many options for submitting your work, so please tell us why you chose PCNW? What are your thoughts and experience with submitting your work to different calls?

PCNW looked like a cool place and I was looking forward to visiting Seattle for the opening because I really enjoy the city and region! Hope to see you there when things open up again.

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