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If you are unable to visit our gallery and would like to purchase photographs from this preview or others in the gallery, please contact the gallery and call 585-271-2540.


Peter's Picks of the Month

November 4 - November 29 4,2009

On the Road Again

by Gary and Phyllis Thompson
and friends

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

In North America, we are truly blessed to have the finest and most inspirational scenery in the World. In this exquisite exhibition, Gary and Phyllis have given us a transcendental experience of our rich heritage, and have given us a heightened awareness and a reawakening of a sense of wonder at the beauty that is all around us. Jeff Berner wrote "Looking is a gift, but seeing is a power", and by immersing ourselves in these wonderfully seen and captured landscapes, they seem to sing together in quintessential harmony. The authors love for the subject matter is pure music, in the rich tradition that composers such as Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and Ferde Grofe, to name a few, captured nature and the environment so profoundly. In closing, it would be remiss of me not to mention that Gary and Phyllis have performed the inspirational music that results in this superb exhibition, by using film, both transparency and color negative, the majority of which is 35mm. I hope that everyone who sees their work, together with the excellent images of all of their friends, will also be inspired like I was in looking at unmarred majestic beauty and the rich heritage that is ours.

Lone Tree by Phyllis Thompson 

Lone Tree
by Phyllis Thompson

It was a difficult choice between commenting on Saguaro Zebra with its powerful, dazzling, intricate pattern imagery, and Lone Tree, for they are both outstanding pictures. Perhaps I chose the latter because it was a cold day outside, and the Gallery was not as balmy as it usually is, so perchance I opted for an image that exuded warmth. Seriously, I love both these prints equally, but I am only permitted to comment on one, due to lack of space and my fabled verbosity.

Looking through one of Bryce Canyon's windows where the walls are bathed in a brilliant warm glow, we are visually captivated by a lone tree, fighting for survival against overwhelming odds, for already; one side of the tree appears to be dying. Perhaps we are reminded of Charlie Brown's lone, pathetic, yet highly significant and much loved Christmas tree, or perchance that we are just amazed that a tree could survive in such an unusual environment. Certainly, good growing soil and conditions are severely limited and only tough desert-like vegetation thrives. Here one should be very aware of the emphatic contrast among the various tones and hues of the warm colors, which certainly give a feeling of things continuously changing. Compare this with the fact that the lone tree is a fixed point, expressing a deep emotion to be infinitely interpreted. We certainly should be excited that Nature once more has triumphed over the odds, and we all can relate to this wonderfully and artistically seen and taken image. The exquisite warm colors of the sandstone rocks make the tree display all the more beautiful and entrancing. The lone tree is right in the center of the vertical frame, just where it should be, proudly featured against its massive surroundings. The luminous warm reds and yellows of the canyon walls and rocks radiantly contrast with the brilliant green tree foliage. The warm sun picks up and highlights the greenery in the right center of the frame, complementing the lustrous pine needles of the tree. This lone tree I am sure is supremely gratified to be growing in this somewhat hostile environment, it is proud of its stature and resilience against all odds, and it truly realizes that it is an important example of Nature's fight for survival. We can be thankful that Nature is highly valued, especially in the wild, and the presence of this lone tree in a vast canyon, once again gives us food for thought that Nature has questions we do not even know about, or how to ask. This is a superb impressive print, one that we can all love, admire and treasure forever.
House on Fire by Gary Thompson 


House of Fire
by Gary Thompson

Of all of Gary's exceptional images, this one stands out for its eye-catching brilliance. We know that line, shape, texture, form and color are the parts of speech in visual language, and in this stellar print, we have a spectacular assembly of particularly shapes, textures and color that play and interact against each other. Quite often, when I look intently at an image, my visual process can take me in an entirely different direction than what the author intended, and this print is no exception. Here, I could easily make the case that I can clearly see a mythological giant with flaming red hair and penetrating, bewitching, dark eyes. All such cerebral interpretations quickly vanish forever, however, when I envisage and absorb this intensely powerful, dramatic masterpiece. Such resplendence is truly a work of art by the photographer. Certainly, this is great subject matter, and good photographers should be able to record good or even excellent pictures of these ruins. Gary knew through careful and extensive research, that the key to getting an exceptional shot was the lighting, and related of course, was the time of day and the time of the year. As he explains in his caption about the photograph, stunning golden lighting that illuminates the sheltered alcove, results from direct sunlight hitting the opposite side of the canyon, before bouncing back as reflected light directly into the alcove. Using slight underexposure and a polarizing filter, the author was able to capture this outstanding image. The poignant fact that these ruins centuries ago housed viable, intelligent and imaginative people, who have long since vanished, certainly gives us cause to pause, and think wistfully and lovingly of these pioneers. Oh how I wish they could still be here to see Gary's extraordinary picture. It is very rare for me in reviewing thousands of images to say that a certain picture could not have been taken and printed any better. This is that rare exception, where I truly believe that this image is unsurpassed, a great tribute to the photographer, whom I think has given us a one in a million fabulous print, that I encourage everyone who see it to purchase a copy for their home or office for all to admire – This is definitely not an advertising ploy, just my own personal reflection.


Together by Pete Nelson

Rock-a-Bye-Baby by Pete Nelson

Together and Rock-A-Bye Baby
 by Pete Nelson

These two complementary prints are excellent examples of photographic vision and expertise that result in images that could grace with distinction any modern art gallery. It is irrelevant to try and determine what the subject matter was, or even how the pictures were made, for these are truly visual impact statements, they are meant for the observer to visualize, absorb, explore and of course enjoy. Personally, I was fascinated by the endless flowing shapes with well-defined edges that give us form if not function. Whether one can see delicate shapes and contours of possibly a flower in Together, or sinusoidal waves at the beach in the other image like I do, is not important. These two photographs are fascinating, different images, to explore shape form and certainly motion, paying special attention and admiration for the restricted range and quality of the colors. The latter are quite different and intriguing from most of the prints we usually see, although they do encompass a diminished range of warm to cold hues. The colors tend to focus on the colder side of the spectrum, giving the prints, especially Rock-A-Bye-Baby, a sort of ghostly ambience, much in keeping with the mystery element that threads throughout both images. The prints appear in constant motion, one in a vertical plane, and the other along a horizontal axis. These are exceptional, different images which I certainly admire for their originality and profound, mysterious aura. One must look at them intently, then let the mind wander in and out, and then let perception, motion and mystery intertwine and hopefully interact, so that one can get the full enjoyment out of these striking surreal images.



Monument Valley by Karen Schlenker  Desert Texture by Karen Schlenker

Monument Valley and Desert Texture
by Karen Schlenker

Karen has two pictures in this exhibition, both of which are truly excellent and worthy of comment. One of the classic views in Monument Valley has been exquisitely captured, showing both the breathtaking majesty of the powerful rock structures that beautifully frame the central, vertically striated formation. The latter is bathed in lovely early morning light, imparting a dramatic and uplifting color to the rocks, against a background of a pale blue sky that complements the whole vista superbly. The early morning sun sweeps across the landscape, delicately picking up every detail of the valley floor that provides an impressive base to the two towering giants thrusting up into the sky. The print is a sublime, striking image of a well-photographed part of Valley, one that the photographer should be extremely proud of. In Desert Texture we see an amazing panorama of an infinite variety of shapes, lines, textures, and sumptuous subtle colors, all of which combine to give us a desert landscape of inordinate strength and beauty. The overall diffuse lighting admirably succeeds in delineating every detail, texture, and color variation. The myriad of shapes and contours integrate in a fascinating manner, and although we have no sense of scale, it does not matter whether we are looking at a desert panorama or an intimate close-up of a small landscape detail, either way, the scene is just extraordinary. Visually, one can journey along the flowing fault lines, or endlessly climb over and around the uplifted mounds, all the time taking in and enjoying the countless color changes, which are warm and inviting and add strikingly to the textures and detailed formations. The desert in nature has never looked so splendid and inviting.



Autumn Woods by John Williamson   

Autumn Woods
by John Williamson

This is an impressive, powerful, vertical image, awash with beautiful, soft, delicate colors, and filled with incredible feeling and motion. One can easily imagine that you are witnessing a raging forest fire, where the wind and the flames are dancing in unison, effortlessly consuming the trees and vegetation, as the inferno thrusts endlessly upwards. Nature often exhibits its most spectacular splendor when danger threatens, and this image could be an example of this. Of course, we know from the title that we are not looking at such a scenario, but rather the superb, artistic talents of the photographer, who has given us a wonderful image. This print is not just great to look at, but one that can excite all manner of interpretations in our visual cortex, and give all manner of food for thought for our gray matter. I just love the wide-ranging pastel color hues, together with the visual interplay of these colors with the wispy, vertical strands that effortlessly move as though they are swaying to some rhapsodic melody. Although each element is sensual whilst in motion, there is a definite air of calmness and blissful peace. One can be inspired by the visual beauty and graceful movement, or one can even close their eyes and still envisage this delightful image. This is just a gorgeous and certainly thought-provoking print, beautifully seen and captured by the author in a unique way.


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