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Peter's Picks of the Month

Master's Invitational

March 25 - April 19, 2009

Peter Marr picked his favorite photos of the show
by the featured and guest photographers and also describes the strength the image he has chosen.


All images copyright by the individual photographers

Untitled 108 by Carl Chiarenza

Untitled 108, 2007
by Carl Chiarenza

Carl Chiarenza’s richly textured black and white images of “found” objects, are sublime photographic abstractions, that compel us to extract the very essence from the image elements, in order to give us a heightened awareness of our inner thoughts and feelings.   In the absence of color, we have a much stronger sense of light and shadow, of mystery, and of the vibrant energy of textures.  There is a cognitive need to categorize and label all that we see, otherwise we would no longer see anything that we have been conditioned to expect. Here we must learn to relax our beliefs, and ask what the photograph emotionally says to us. In “Untitled 108, 2007”, my eyes and my thoughts go to illusional qualities, and to the reality it depicts, not at all to the constructed image. There is drama and atmosphere; there is a sense of wonder, together with a strong element of mystery.  I see floating in space a waning moon or distant planet, a tearing of earth’s fabric, urging me to escape its surface and try and reach the moon.   Against this desire is a strong and dominant “foot” in the left foreground, which acts powerfully to restrict and perhaps stop altogether this seemingly reckless act. As in all of Carl’s photographs, we certainly admire their compelling metaphorical abstract designs, but in looking intently at them, as we certainly must do, we have to relax our beliefs, and truly ask what each image emotionally says to us.

Untitled by Andy Davidhazy


By Andy Davidhazy

Andy Davidhazy is both a pioneer and a master craftsman in developing and refining scientific imaging techniques in photography, and we are extremely privileged in this exhibition to see and admire, excellent examples of his slit-scan portraiture, Schlieren, and high speed electronic flash photography. What is most important though, is that his work surpasses scientific illustration, to give us beautiful and thought –provoking images.  I have chosen this particular photograph to discuss in a little more detail, because it embodies time and motion in one superb dynamic image. One can easily imagine sine waves dancing in time around a brilliant red core, or perhaps, part of a DNA helix in constant regular motion around a cervical cord, each strand doing its own thing in perfect sync with each other.   The motion of each wave is perfectly in time and place with its partner, yet is importantly separated by the two different colors of each strand.  The choice of red for the cortex is profound, scientifically and emotionally, and our eyes are transfixed by its vibrant color, shape and markings, all the while being very aware of the constant regular motion around it. We certainly marvel at the complexity of the way the image was constructed, probably encompassing hundreds of hours of research and experimentation, so that now we can enjoy it for its artistic and imaginative design, its superb color, and for the exciting concepts which it presents. This is a truly beautiful and very satisfying image.

Lotus by Kitty Hubbard

by Kitty Hubbard

The superb artistry of Kitty Hubbard’s prints further entrenches one in the knowledge that one can continue to marvel at Nature’s abstraction, with the fact that Nature is for reverence.  She has the uncanny ability to get inside nature, inside the very plant itself, all with softness, delicacy and a superb sense of subtle color.  In her life cycle of the Lotus flower, a flower which appears in legends originating from ancient Egypt, it is apparent why the Lotus flower became a symbol  of creation and rebirth, and has symbolized spiritual enlightenment.  My favorite image in the cycle is “Lotus” which is an outstanding print that is filled with quiet emotion and serene eloquence, showing us indeed that nature is pervaded with human life.  The beautiful arrangement of the flower bud and the early emergence of the seed pod in a delicate bed of petals, is more than just artistic, it is truly magical.  Against the black background, the gorgeous soft pastel colors just leap out of the frame, with the petals seeming to dance to some sublime musical theme.  They dance around the couple lying in a gentle embrace, intoxicated by the soft bed of petals, bring to mind the famous quotation “Sleep, perchance to dream”, a sleep in exquisite surroundings.   Nature in such an artistic setting is so sublimely human, and we are very fortunate to be able to view such a delightful, entrancing image, and see it linked to a life cycle with the other Lotus flower prints. This is a sublime captivating image, a star in a sea of other stars in Kitty Hubbard’s majestical presentation.

Rosemarie by John Retallack


by John Retallack

John’s superb portraits bring out the very essence and personality of his subjects, and I was particularly impressed and captivated by his environmental studies, exemplified for example with “Dan ”, “Eckart “Ecky and “Rosemarie”.  I have chosen the latter to comment further on as my personal “pick” from all of John’s excellent images.

Our eyes and brain psychologically seek out vertical and horizontal lines for their stability and formal nature, and in the portrait of Rosemarie, these lines are powerfully represented by the patio doors and iron railing.  Suddenly and spectacularly, our eyes immediately go to the dynamic oblique lines, which give us visual tension and contrast. These powerful vectors are the long line of the dress and the rope of pearls, both of which dramatically lead to Rosemarie’s face with it poignant expression. Transfixed in the exact center of the image, right where she wants to be, the center of attention, strong, resolute, determined and entirely lovable. This powerful portrait does add some elements of the wheelchair, together with the delightful soft scenic background with the somewhat threatening sky, all of which add to the environmental scene, yet we always come back to Rosemarie. The brilliant red patterned dress and red hat tell us a lot about her character, as of course does the long string of pearls so prominently displayed, so much a part of her life, her interests and her well-being.  Her strong compelling hand beckons us to come close, to learn more about her life and character. This is such a delightful and telling portrait, wonderfully constructed and photographed. It is a memorable image of what we know is a truly memorable lady, masterfully captured by a great portrait photographer.

Truth by Tori Putch

by Tori Putch

The Photography students at Victor High School have presented an excellent exhibition of prints, which are a great tribute to their vision, photographic and digital skills, and to their teachers.  All of the images have great merit, and I would love to comment about each and every one of them, but alas, I only have the space in Peter’s Picks to discuss one of them, namely “Truth”. I selected this excellent image largely because of the imagination and skill of the author, who obviously spent considerable time in setting up both the photographic elements and the lighting, to give us this intriguing image. There is certainly a large element of mystery and fascination with this print.   What we obviously see, delineated so well with the use of strong side lighting, are a pair of eyeglasses, coupled with a magnified shadow image on an open book page or piece of paper.  The paper has a printed saying on it and the mystery is the fact that we can easily decipher the word “knowing”, but the number of “Truths” is cleverly obscured to read maybe 30 or 50 or some other number.  Adding to this mystery is a figure which looks like a small kite, which may have been introduced deliberately or is possibly printed on the page. The exact meaning why the kite is there is for pure conjecture.  The whole image is further enhanced by the diluted chroma, rendering the print almost as a toned black and white photograph. This intriguing image is beautifully arranged, photographed and presented.  It leaves the viewer with a whole range of options as to what the author is stating, what she meant us to see and what we really do see.  Great picture.

Image City Photography Gallery  ♦   722 University Avenue  ♦    Rochester, NY 14607 ♦ 585.271.2540
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