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Gallery Picks of the Show

Portfolio Showcase 2010

Peter Marr picked his favorite photos of the show from the Portfolios
and also describes the strength of the images he has chosen.


All images copyright by the individual photographers

The portfolios in this exciting display by eight very talented photographers, show a diversity and creative mastery that is both impressive and uplifting. As Jean Houston so appropriately stated, “Creativity is a radical necessity, not a luxury.” For everyone who has the good fortune to see these outstanding images, remember these important words from an anonymous source. “The more one looks, the more one sees. And the more one sees, the better one knows where to look.


Peter A. Marr 

Mary Alice by Nancy Guzauski

Mary Alice
By Nancy Guzauski

I have long admired Nancy’s poignant and haunting photographs of derelict mental institutions. As superb as these pictures were, there was always understandably, the omission of the human element. Thus it was left to the viewer to use their own imagination to listen to the unspoken stories of the subjects, so that at least one could conjecture about life in these buildings. Bravely, Nancy has given us in this portfolio, for each interior shot chosen, the superimposition of a photograph of an actual patient who resided there. In Mary Alice, we see her ghost-like figure, dressed in a pale-lilac dress, standing, arms crossed, at the right edge of the frame, in the stark setting of what seems to be the sewing room. It is important to notice that in at least five of the images shown, the patients are placed at the extreme edges of the pictures. Why? I think that the answer lies in the known fact that we see everything in focus, everything, but we don’t see it all at once. We take time. The eye is constantly moving, and in a picture, it’s the edges that you look at first, and then lines from there lead you into the image. Furthermore, in visual art, everybody sees people first. You look at her first, and then, and only then do we visualize the rest of the room. Hopefully we will fully empathize with her tragic life, the sad life of a mentally challenged person, fully realizing there is nothing that we can do for her now. Perhaps we can also try to relate her to the austere sewing room situation. What we really need to do, is to thank Nancy for showing us these eight heartbreaking, powerful images, and for giving us the opportunity to relate images of actual residents of this State hospital, an institution which was abandoned in 2003, and recently demolished.

Turkey-Tail Mushrooms by Susan C Larkin


Trametes versicolor, Turkey Tail Mushrooms
by Susan C Larkin

Intimate details of flora have been lovingly and impressively captured by Susan in her excellent portfolio presentation. We value wild nature in its place, and using consummate artistic skills, a lot of patience, and cutting-edge technology, she has given us eight images that show amazing structural detail, color, shape and form.

In Turkey Tail Mushrooms, it is very apparent that we all carry a sense of wonder at how exciting nature close-ups are, and if we listen carefully, we can surely hear the story they have to tell. This group of fungi has interwoven a spectacular range of shapes and textures that impressively play against one another.  The eye is not directed to one particular area, but allowed to wander effortlessly in and around every curve and surface texture. On top of all of this, there is an explosion of a rich palette of unbelievable colors that visual enhance every element in this spectacular image. Although these mushrooms are aptly named, it is hard to imagine any turkey having such a rich, colorful and detailed tail as we see here. This resplendent print further enhances our knowledge, that nature is the greatest artist the world has seen. No one could have envisaged, let alone paint such a dynamic, striking image, and we all must be forever thankful, that this awesome, living entity, has been captured for posterity by an outstanding artist for all to marvel at and enjoy.

From the Earth Below by Rick Mearns


From the Earth Below
by Rick Mearns

Rick’s exquisite photographs of some of the hydrothermal features found in Yellowstone National Park are absolutely breathtaking. One definitely has a feeling of the primeval in experiencing terraced springs, steaming fumaroles, boiling hot pools, and views in the caldera basin, that all convince us that this is an environment not made with hands, that seems more fantasy than reality. The untouchability and grandeur of nature at its finest, is majestically displayed in “From the Earth Below”. The powerful upthrust of the travertine monolith, with its complex structure of flowing lines, curves and terraces, features which are wonderfully delineated by the rich palette of colors emanating from the timeless work of living organisms, algae, bacteria and minerals. Above this active, terraced mound, there is a dramatic sky which embellishes the eeriness and unreality of the image. In my own imagination, it was easy to merge into the fantasy world, in which I envision a sleeping giant Saint Bernard dog, whose flowing coat moves effortlessly down the limestone cascade. The canine’s large muzzle and paws rest gently on the colorful multi-faceted carpet, one eye closed indicating the giant was resting peacefully. Could this impressive creature awake sometime in the distant future and become a fierce geothermal force? Fantasy and fear are ever with us, so it is appropriate in viewing this magnificent image, to allow ourselves the liberty of indulging in these thought processes. Enjoy looking, and let the imagination run wild with this superb print. 

Garden in the Sky by Todd Moon

Garden in the Sky
by Todd Moon

It was Henry David Thoreau who once said, “The world is but a canvas to the Imagination.” Creativity is a vector in every type of thought, especially imagination, which removes us (temporarily) out of our immediate surroundings, into the shadowy realm of alternate realities, where we gain new experiences. In art, creativity and imagination are free to explore to reach their full potential, which Todd has outstandingly done, by using technical and digital techniques to create impressive artistic images. I chose Garden in the Sky to comment further on, mainly because it has the largest expanse of sky, which allows our thought processes to be less affected by boundaries or constrictions. The circular center of this print contains imposing rows of houses and formal gardens, effortlessly revolving around a circular fountain structure, which is itself completely surrounded by orderly pinkish-red bricks. One is constantly aware of the circular motion and symmetry, although each arc segment is sharply broken up by the intrusion of triangular-shaped gardens, all pointing to the central hub. Furthermore, the tall vertical building adds a definite degree of incongruity. What is fascinating is that the large expanse of sky and clouds are also configured in a circular pattern. Everything is in dynamic motion, with the circular fountain as the fulcrum, and the tall building as the lever. I am reminded immediately, of the revolutionary minds at Pixar Studios, who gave us the hilariously uplifting adventure of the superb animation movie, “UP.” There are no balloons to lift us off into a lost world, but we can let our imagination run wild so that we can explore alternate realities for ourselves. 

The Three of Us by Katherine Nicosia


The Three of Us

by Katherine Nicosia

The lovely intimate portraits of “slices of life” take on an added magical dimension, by deliberately altering the SX-70 film during development. The technique is not new, but it has been used exquisitely here to give us poignant, aesthetic images, that any artist from the impressionism period would have been proud to have painted. It is well known that photographers and painters see more, because they are looking for more, and indeed, every time you look at Katherine’s prints, you see something different. Her prints effortlessly transport us back to our own childhood years, allowing us to arouse and excite the sub-conscious, so that we can reminisce about times long past. I initially wanted to comment on “I wish Things were Different,” another superb print, but I soon realized that my philosophical journeys and personal meanderings would take up too much space and time. No matter, for in The Three of Us, an equally magical print, the innocence, exuberance and wonderment of youth is beautifully captured, as three young children absorb themselves completely, in exploring the interplay of sand and water. We can easily imagine their happiness and delight as they coordinate their efforts to construct sand castles, and try to rebuff the vagaries of the relentless surf, which is determined to destroy their dreams. The children’s excitement, captured by their uplifted legs, and dedicated concentration, is wonderfully transparent. We witness a priceless moment of calm and excitement, of innocence momentarily isolated from this restless, complicated world. Artistically, this is a painting nonpareil, and we are forever grateful for every twist and turn of the stylus that the artist used, to persuade the emulsion to give us this outstanding image.


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