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Gallery Picks of the Show

Places of Faith
by Don Menges

Adriatic Impressions
by Steve Levinson

Peter Marr picked his favorite photos of the show by the featured and guest artists.


All images copyright by the individual photographers


Sacred Heart Cathedral #1 by Don Menges

Sacred Heart Cathedral #1
by Don Menges

In this superlative exhibition, the images are un-mistakenly the sublime work of a very talented artist and photographer, namely, Don Menges. For my second print to comment on, I was torn between this particular image and Christ Church #1, both of which are truly exceptional, the latter having tremendous visual impact because of the choice of a high camera viewpoint, which offers a unique opportunity to experience almost all of this beautiful church’s interior. I finally chose Sacred Heart Cathedral #1 because not only is it an outstanding photograph, it dramatically illustrates the imaginative manner in which the author has dealt with the large variation in luminance values, resulting in a print that has exquisite tonal separation and quality, together with superb sharpness and subject detail, all of which are just extraordinary. I particularly like the imaginative viewpoint angled behind the altar, the modern design of which contrasts dynamically with the more elaborate and richly carved wooden pulpit. This inspired choice of camera position has the added bonus of capturing in great detail, the modern design features of the lovely tiled floor. The latter effortlessly takes one’s eyes across to the vaulted arches all the way to the elegantly curved supports of the cathedral ceiling. In the background, the resplendent stained glass windows glow with a radiance befitting this regal setting. The impressive color palette has been superbly captured, which together with the masterly control of the available light, reveals every detail of the illustrious interior of this historic cathedral. It is very apparent that in all of Don’s church interior prints, there is always a sense of majesty and reverence. I particularly have this feeling with the Sacred Heart Cathedral image, where there is a warmth and glow that resonates with the very presence of God. I sense the quietness of prayer and worship, and the rejoicing in the hearts of all of the people who come here.


Keyhole to the Sky by Steve Levinson

Keyhole to the Sky
by Steve Levinson

This outstanding image, imaginatively seen and artistically captured by Steve has a powerful presence and majesty that is truly magical and awe-inspiring. There is both a vastness of scale and an incredible intimacy of detail which creates an aura of mystery regarding the history and purpose of this massive structure. One certainly must admire the architectural grandeur and design, the impressive stonework assembly, and of course the two dramatic vertical openings, which together give the impression of a giant keyhole, a feature the author has cleverly used in the title of this print. Given the time, one could conjecture whether these openings were entranceways to buildings which no longer exist, and perhaps wonder why the top portal is so much smaller than the lower one. These and other relevant questions are secondary to acknowledging the brilliant creativeness of the author, who has captured the sunlight illuminating part of the interior in a distinctive oval pattern, one that almost mirrors the intense azure blue sky. The latter projects boldly through the two gateways, giving through some eyes a powerful abstract pattern, and perhaps in others, a setting of two blue precious stones in a pendant that gracefully hangs around the neck of a young lady wearing a blue sweater.  The latter scenario is much more evident in the accompanying smaller print version. This is a stellar print, a great tribute to the masterly skills of the artist, who has creatively captured a decisive moment, to give us an exquisite print for everyone to admire and cherish.

St. Michael's Church #3 by Don Menges

St. Michael’s Church #3
by Don Menges

Together with countless other people, I have long been an admirer of the artistry, photographic prowess and digital expertise of Don, and this outstanding exhibition of Places of Faith, is an inspiring tribute to his impressive talents. These talents have been honed to perfection from countless hours of research, experimentation and hard work, to achieve the high standard he has set for everyone who has the good fortune to view these exceptional prints. From all of his striking images, I chose St. Michael’s #3 to comment further on, not because it is the largest print on display, but because it matchlessly illustrates precise exposure range control, extraordinary color quality, superb sharpness and subject detail, and maybe above all, a vibrancy and grandeur that is unsurpassed.  Here, the sublime color palette and intricate details of everything from the exquisite religious groupings, the carved statues, the intricate lace altar linen and the prayer desks, all the way to the gorgeous carpet and the ornately carved pews, have been compellingly captured by the artist, resulting in an awe-inspiring image. The longer that I looked at this stellar print, the more I became aware of the serenity and peacefulness of this setting, this is a place that God has made and where reverence is paramount. The magnificent architecture and the rich ornate details are unsurpassed, but for me, the highlight is the simple gold cross in the center of the altar.

Early Crop by Steve Levinson

Early Crop
by Steve Levinson

We are all deeply indebted to Steve for his superb exhibition of Adriatic Impressions, especially for the outstanding variety of subject matter, which made my selection of two favorite images extremely difficult. For one of them, I chose Early Crop, because of its great impact, artistic design, and the creative way the author saw and photographed the subject matter in such an inspired way, using a high camera angle. The end result is a unique view of parallel lines of young plants, meticulously planted and ordered, each at the foot of tall metal stakes. The plants are protected by dark swathes of plastic sheeting, which makes a dramatic background, majestically highlighting the deep green vegetation and the red metal supports. Between each cultivated section, the barren soil stretches out in elegant diagonal fingers. The light brown tones of the latter have subtle patterns of their own, delightfully complementing the imposing lines of the cultivated areas. It is interesting to note that the planting and staking precision is interrupted at the top of the two rows on the right hand side of the picture. Here, the young plants do have somewhat ordered alternate positions, although the metal rods are absent, suggesting perhaps a different crop variety from the other rows. This does not detract, however, from the aesthetic design and masterful impact of this consummate print. I could liken this image to serried ranks of ancient warriors, standing regimentally behind the earthen battlements, with their lances raised in preparation for combat. To the rear, young recruits in less than orderly fashion, are preparing to support the front lines should they be needed. This is a resplendent image, I just hope that all of the people responsible for the cultivation of this crop also have the opportunity to see this inspiring sprint.

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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