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Peter Marr's Picks of the Show

Perspectives: Near and Far

November 2 - November 27, 2011

click here to return to the details of the exhibit


All images copyright by the individual photographers

Oakes of Wormsloe by Phyllis Thompson


Oaks of Wormsloe

by Phyllis Thompson


There are a number of photographs that contain intriguing pathways in this outstanding exhibition of masterpieces by Phyllis and Gary Thompson, none as especial as the one that traverses between the Oaks of Wormsloe, a stellar image that is imposing and majestic in every way. There is a magical atmosphere in this landscape, which cannot fail to arrest a viewer’s attention, and induce an emotional response, it is a feast for the eye and the imagination. The strong side-lighting accentuates every detail in the trees and in the delicate tracery of the foliage, and illuminates the small trees and shrubs on the periphery, as well as casting creative shadows across the grass verge and pathway, as far as the eye can see. The lighting also underscores every hue from saturated browns, to yellows and light greens, creating an expressive palette of colors that harmonize so effectively in this beautiful setting. We may never know why these oak trees were planted in such a straight line and regimented fashion, with a wide, forest pathway between the two rows, but when we see the end-result after countless years of tree growth, we are especially thankful that they were planted in this way, and I know that the trees are grateful as well. In time, each limb where possible, has reached across the path to greet, and eventually entwine with its opposite neighbor. This has resulted in an incredibly artistic archway of tree limbs and branches which twist, turn and bend in every conceivable way, reminiscent in some way of herds of elephants on either side of a small stream, reaching out and interlocking their magnificent trunks. I would like to think that over time, nature has once again taken the utmost advantage from the positioning of these oak trees, to put on a dazzling show, a tour de force of strength and beauty, to transform a pathway into an idyllic scenic canopy that has been illustriously captured for every viewer to marvel at, by the artist. For some, this may be nature’s way of imitating a formal archway of perhaps elegantly attired guardsmen, reaching out and interlocking their swords in unison, whilst a bride and groom in their stately carriage processes down a different sort of pathway.


Trees in Fog by Gary Thompson


Fog at Crabtree Meadows

by Gary Thompson


Ralph Evans asserted that we have trained ourselves from birth to see objects rather than light, accepting light as a mere illuminator. For a photographer, it is more important to see light and how light affects appearance, and it is this ability in particular, that is the hallmark of both Gary’s and his wife, Phyllis’s creative approach to photography. Of all of Gary’s quintessential images in this impressive exhibition, Fog at Crabtree Meadows is definitely one of my favorites, for it has an awe and majesty that is unsurpassed. It is illustrative of a well known Buddhist saying, “There is magic in quiet light, a sense of mystery, time for contemplation and for listening,” In such fog- enshrouded scenes, the film exposure is really critical, and the artist has accomplished this to perfection, resulting in a dramatic, sublime image. Although the fog results in lower contrast and more muted hues, both of these elements contribute immensely to the quietness and mystery that we experience in this outstanding landscape. The powerful, but stately tree trunks have been seemingly put in place by nature in imposing fashion, even retaining their importance into the far distance. Where there is delicate foliage, it seems to mirror the very carpet from which these trees spring up from, and it is highlighted by the elegant, fully leafed-out tree, imposingly positioned in the center of the frame. Nature is for reverence, and the more that we look at this idyllic masterpiece, we are ever aware of a quiet inwardness and the peace of solitude, where one can feel the presence of the unknown. Such beauty is not static, but contingent upon each individual’s unique preferences, feelings and circumstances. I add the latter statement, because as one looks lovingly at this resplendent photograph, it would not be remiss to perhaps imagine you were re-visiting a fairy tale, where a knight in shining armor, mounted on a pure-white steed, is seen in the distant fog, searching perhaps for his damsel in distress.


Early Birds, Hemlock Lake by Ron Kenney


Early Birds, Hemlock Lake

by Ron Kenney


This is a superbly seen and captured image that is a landscape in motion, where the atmospheric conditions give rise to a magical quality by influencing our human experience and response. The mist rising from the water’s surface has an ethereal glow, which is visually exciting when it reveals a dream-like earthscape. We see an uplifted finger of land, on which is dramatically highlighted an open gazebo structure and two benches at one end, and a small gathering of birds at the other. The delicate early morning light captures just enough detail to highlight the grass and the ribbed roof of the gazebo shelter, an elegant structure that the birds are obviously eyeing as their next resting place. One is struck by a feeling of awe and majesty, and possibly the wish that the benches could be filled with people so that they could share and enjoy this idyllic setting. I cannot help but marvel at this pristine setting, so majestically photographed by the artist. I would challenge every viewer to take the time to absorb every nuance and breathtaking beauty that this image portrays, and perhaps they will make a connection to something that is precious or important to them. Maybe someone’s imagination could visualize a rocket launching site, where the early morning mist is transformed into the exhaust gases issuing from the gazebo as it begins its ascent into the unknown!


A Place to Eat by Michael Parisi


A Place to Eat

by Michael Parisi


This is a magical setting, exquisitely captured by the artist using the available light from an open doorway and window to perfection. The camera exposure and printing of this memorable image are first-rate, an in addition to the impressive interior, there is the added bonus of detail from the outside habitat, creatively recorded through the window. The tonal relationship that leads the eye through and around the august dining room is  visually arresting, giving the interior an elegance and functionality that is just awe-inspiring. The warm, earthy color hues, together with the rich browns of the different wooden pieces all add to the ambience and glow of this striking setting. There is simplicity of detail from the rustic utensils to the animal furs and skins on the benches that exudes both beauty and practicality, elements that wonderfully encompass the pioneering and hunting spirit carried on over countless generations. Even the walls and the floor have textures and patterns that contribute to the charm and radiance of this historic setting. This is a dining room that any weary traveller who had the good fortune to be invited into, would be enthralled by its charm and uniqueness. This is a truly expressive image, and a great tribute to the artist who creatively photographed this dining room for the ages.

It's OK, I'm Here by Loni Titus

I’m Here.....It’s OK

by Loni Titus


Although I was only asked to review four images in this excellent exhibition, I could not stop at that number without writing a short acknowledgement on this very moving and poignant photograph. This stellar image owes a great deal of its impact and meaning, from the fact that the two subjects have their backs to the viewer, so that we cannot see their facial expressions. It is left to our imagination, our memory and our emotion to see what we “want” to see. There is certainly a powerful bond between the young girl and the donkey, with a love and affection that is boundless. We all hope that the animal has not broken a leg or is suffering in some other way. For myself, I would like to think that the donkey is either very tired, or truly obstinate, and at that moment, it was not receptive to the kindly exhortations of the young lady. This is an upliftingly seen and captured image, full of affection, concern and empathy. It is a wonderfully precious moment in time, one that Henri Cartier Bresson would have been proud to have taken.

Peter Marr

We are very grateful to Peter for his thorough review and selection for Peter's Picks. Peter was born in England in 1935 and came to live in the United States in 1968. He worked for the Eastman Kodak Company for 34 years, retiring in 1998. During his employment and continuing into retirement, he has been an enthusiastic photographer. His photography has won him numerous awards throughout Kodak and in International Salons, including 5 George Eastman Medals, which is the top honor awarded to the most outstanding picture in the Annual Kodak International Salon. He has served as a judge in both local and international photographic competitions for the past 20 years, and is a Past president of the Kodak Camera Club and past chairman of many of the Kodak Camera Club organizations. In the past five years or so, he has devoted his photographic skills and interest into nature photography, notably bird photography. His bird photography has been the subject of several one-person exhibits, the most recent being at Ding Darling NWR, in Sanibel, Florida, The Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, New York, and at the Webster Public Library in Webster, NY.

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