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Peter's Picks of the Month

July15- August 9, 20099

Wanderings
 by Lou Ryen   

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


 
                                                                                                                                                                            

All images copyright by the individual photographers

Lou has travelled extensively throughout many countries, and this excellent exhibition gives everyone an opportunity to view and enjoy some of the lovely areas that he has visited. His images show a bold use of strong vibrant colors and artistic architectural design. Lou takes us into the fascinating back streets and alleyways of Lake Como and through the quaint cobblestone streets, to give us intimate views of houses and buildings, where resplendent saturated colors and intriguing designs abound. In France, we can take in a dramatic complex of colorful rooftops, and end up in a quiet residential courtyard where flowers and bright colors welcome the visitor. We end our journey with a small but delightful visit to Greece, where Lou has beautifully captured the unique architectural designs and striking contrasting colors. - Peter A. Marr

Sherry Winery by Lou Ryen

Sherry Winery
by Lou Ryen

Of all of Lou’s impressive images, this particular one really stood out as the one that I admired the most. Obviously, the subject matter is a photographer’s dream, with many intriguing eye-catching elements. All of these have been exquisitely captured in a dynamic vertical format, resulting in a truly compelling image. The latticed stone street with the dominant blocks leading us through this regal corridor is supported by a majestic building fašade. The colors and designs in this street are so fascinating, that we are not bothered that it leads us out of the picture, for we certainly know that the avenue looks just as great around the corner, so that we are very content to stay in the scene to admire the other fascinating features that abound here. What immediately captures your eye are the lovely vertical trees (probably vine trunks), that are growing at regular intervals outside of the building, and these majestical vines seem to stretch up forever, into a brilliant canopy of branches and leaves. The crowning glory is the filtered light, which gives the leaves a resplendent range of colors from deep greens and reds into lovely pastel shades, resulting in a magical canopy that seems to go on forever. The soft lighting is still powerful enough to delineate all the intricate colors and details in the street stonework, as well as the building’s facades, even to clearly showing the peeling paint on the walls. If I ever go on a magical mystery tour to a Winery in Europe, I hope that it is to this Winery, so that I can experience this wonderful street that Lou has captured so exquisitely.

 

Threadcutter by Kurt Baxter 

Threadcutter
by Kurt Baxter

 Kurt’s portfolio of prints, often of very ordinary subject matter, shows a very imaginative and artistic design quality. Threadcutter certainly has these qualities, helped immensely by the added element of the powerful color red, which is probably the best visual sensation to catch and intrigue the eye. We are always aware of the intriguing metal pieces, the threaded pipe and the countless metal shavings, but invariably, our eyes return to the bright red circular attachment, firmly seated into a support with glistening Philips-head screws. The fascinating lines and paths in the red background material all lead us into the mysterious black hole in the center of the “trap”. Can we envisage a sink trap that swallows dirt and shavings, yet keeps larger parts from disappearing into the abyss? What is reality and what we imagine is probably very different. Could we imagine that this brightly colored fixture around a menacing black hole, is capable of attracting and devouring all but the largest steel elements, leaving bloody trails for all to see? This is what is so fascinating about detailed close-ups like this excellent image, one that we certainly admire for its photographic and artistic design. Visually, it is not improbable for one to conjecture that we are looking at some form of monster, steeped in blood, one that swallows our weaker smaller offerings, leaving only the larger and stronger to survive. This is a very creative, intriguing image, superbly seen and photographed.

 

Self Portrait by Jeno Horvath

Self Portrait
by Jeno Horvath

It would be remiss of me if I did not choose this dynamic and powerful self-portrait as one of my picks this month, for indeed, it was near the top of my list to comment on last month, but I just ran out of options. In keeping with the always high standard of photography from Camera Rochester, Jeno’s image is outstanding, highlighted of course by the most amazing use of digital manipulation that I personally have ever seen. Even the great Jerry Uelsmann, admittedly using film and not digital media, could not have accomplished what Jeno has so brilliantly done. This is no extended ego trip to show the author in as many guises as possible, the image was carefully planned and executed incomparably. I especially liked the author showing a print of himself, whilst holding another manipulated print. It creates a mysterious feeling that there are images of Jeno that go on forever into the imagination and beyond, reality into the non-reality. Jeno fully deserves all of the plaudits we can give him for this wonderful and exquisitely rendered print. The only downside that I can think of, is that this image sets such a high standard for self-portraits, that other photographers and digital print makers are going to be very hard pressed to surpass it. Certainly, a conventional self-portrait is now “de rigueur”, or should I say mundane after viewing this great print. I do offer a suggestion that might work, attributed to the great artist Vincent van Gogh, whose early self-portraits were acceptable at that time, but sensational once he cut his ear off!

 

St. Sophia Cathedral and Vladimirskaya Tower

East Gallery
by Photographers,
Novgorod, Russia
Sponsored by Linkages

 We are very privileged to have images taken in Rochester’s Sister City, Novgorod, which proudly shows some of the rich history, architectural heritage, culture and religion of the oldest city in Russia. Images that are particularly memorable include “St Sophia Cathedral and Vladimirskaya Tower” (pictured by Alexander Kochevnik) where architecture, religion and history are virtually superimposed in this dramatic picture. Here we see the lovely, delicately shaped and colored domes of the oldest church in Russia, contrasting strikingly with the much more modern military-structured Tower. Adjacent to this outstanding print is a scene of a folk festival at Vitoslavitsy, set in the grounds of the Museum of Wooden Architecture. It is certainly delightful to see the colorful costumes with a dance formation where you can almost hear the folk music playing in the background. The other particularly captivating images are “Wedding Ceremony” and “ Mayor Bobryshev and Family”. In the former, one can clearly envisage the intermarriage of religion and culture with tradition and ritual. Unlike Western weddings, the bride and groom do not look happy, there are no joyous onlookers, and only the traditionally attired priest seems delighted with the ceremony. The family picture is just a treasure, happiness abounds, not just for the photographer, but genuine feelings that illustrate and reflect the love and affection that residents of Novgorod are well known for with regard to their endearing hospitality. There are many other excellent images in this exhibition, particularly those illustrating the architecturally striking churches and monuments. I hope that many people who visit the gallery will take the time to study and enjoy these lovely images, which are shown in celebration of the 1150th anniversary of the founding of Rochester’s Sister City, Novgorod.

 

  Bushes and Birches by Jane Hopkins  

Bushes and Birches
by Jane Hopkins

I simply love all of Jane’s images, which are even more fascinating when you read her artistic statement about how the repeating patterns around a central core, comparable to a Mandela, can offer insights into spiritual and contemplative thought processes. For me, the delicate colors and interweaving lacery in “Spring Meadow” is especially intriguing and relaxing, and if you should choose to admire the image just for that, you could do no better. I chose “Bushes and Birch Trees” to comment further on not only because it is a great image, but because visually and emotionally, it transcends both the past and the future. The lovely delicate color and interwoven shapes, together with the majestically artistic design, initially takes me back to my fondness for Alice in Wonderland. With her fearlessness and innocence, she would easily push apart the slender birch limbs and descend into the hole beyond, to seek out the hidden wonders without fear of not returning to the world that she knew. When I was young like Alice, I would probably do and think as she did. Now, in my more mature years, the slender branches are stout trees, and the fear of the unknown in that dark hole is much more menacing. The risk of going beyond and not returning is very real, a risk that many of us are not willing to take. This image, like Jane’s other prints, are wonderfully thought-provoking, and these pictures are certainly to be admired, but also to be studied carefully, so that one’s contemplative and imaginative processes can have time to interact with the messages that are being sent to the brain via the visual cortex. It was certainly a wonderful experience viewing and interacting with these delightful images.

   
 
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