Frank Cordelle
Frank Cordelle

Hancock, NH — Frank Cordelle, 78, a resident of Hancock and formerly of Bennington, NH, passed away on October 8, 2021 after a period of declining health. He was born in New York City on December 9, 1942, the elder son of Eugene and Else Cordelle, and grew up in New York and New England. He graduated from Mt. Herman School (MA) and earned a degree in Biology from Hamilton College (NY) in 1964.

His fascination with the natural sciences led him to pursue a PhD in Biochemistry at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA but on the verge of completing his doctorate – in fact in the last stages of presenting his thesis -- he had an awakening that took his life in a totally different direction: pursuit of his passion for photography. He befriended a doctor who had left a successful medical practice to pursue his love of photography. Frank was inspired to follow his example -- he never completed his PhD, but spent the rest of his life exploring his passions and talents, traveling, meeting diverse people, and refining his art.

Frank loved skydiving, which he pursued and taught for several years in Orange MA. He moved to Bennington,NH in the 1970s, where he designed and built his own photographic studio. He got involved in the life of the community, serving on Bennington's school and Zoning boards and was especially active during the ConVal School District's project of upgrading all of its buildings. He continued to develop his photographic and artistic vision, culminating in what would become his legacy photography project – "The Century Project: Bodies & Souls."

Frank moved to the West Coast in the mid-90's and traveled extensively to present the exhibit and finalize publication of the Century Project: Bodies & Souls book in 2006.

He moved back to Hancock, NH in [2017] to be with family on the East Coast. He will be remembered with love and pride by his brother, Guy Cordelle, his sister-in law Diane Cordelle, nephew Christopher Cordelle and his wife Gina and their three daughters Kaela, Caitlin and Kelly. In his own quiet way, he enriched the lives of former neighbors in Bennington and friends in the Monadnock area, some of whom participated in The Century Project. At Frank's request there will be no memorial service.

Judging from numerous notes and letters in his Project files, he also touched the lives of project participants and many exhibit attendees who participated . One example: "A very moving exhibit. It is art like yours that changes the world."

The project was 20-plus years in the making, with the photography exhibits and open discussion forums or guest lectures including Frank's participation (primarily at colleges and universities) starting in 1992 and running through 2012. During that time the Project was exhibited 79 times, with an average of over a thousand viewers for a five day college showing.

Superficially, The Century Project is a chronological sequence of nude female portraits from the moment of birth to nearly one hundred years of age. .

But more importantly it served as a springboard for exploration of issues of female self-image, body acceptance, and definitions of beauty – in contrast to cultural, societal and religious stereotypes. . The photographs were accompanied by personal statements, written by the participants themselves, about their reasons for and reactions to participating in the project. These commentaries are emotionally revealing and intensely moving; the words and pictures make a very powerful combination.

The Century Project's initial goal was to present an honest and healthy alternative to the air-brushed and one-dimensional ways women are portrayed in the media, but will be remembered as celebration of and tribute to real women, living in real bodies, shaped and strengthened by their self-awareness and life experiences.
Published by Monadnock Ledger-Transcript on Nov. 25, 2021.
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2 Entries
Cathy Salciccia
January 14, 2022
He took beautiful Photos, especially portraits. A black and white that he took of my children over 40 years ago still remains one of my favorites.
November 25, 2021
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