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Peter's Picks
and Gallery

Picks of the Show

Roads Less Traveled

Gary and Phyllis Thompson
and Friends

 Peter Marr and Gallery partners have made a selection of their favorites
from the Featured Photographers in the exhibit.

click here to return to the details of the exhibit


All images copyright by the individual photographers

Peter Marr's Picks


Roads Less Traveled

There is a seeing beyond seeing, where there is a reawakening of an intuitive perception that leads to a sense of wonder. One of the tenets of ancient Taoist philosophy is that meaningful art springs from an unrestricted awareness of the world around us. This spirited essence reminds one of a famous quote from Dizzy Gillespie, who when asked where his jazz came from, replied “It’s out there, man. Don’t you hear it?” Here, in this stellar exhibition, Gary and Phyllis and friends have successfully liberated their vision and uplifted their photographic artistry for everyone to see and admire. 

 Peter A. Marr


Waves of Grass by Phyllis Thompson

Waves of Grass
Phyllis Thompson

This impressive expanse of a grove of native birch trees growing through a canopy of grasses, has been delightfully captured by the artist. There is a majesty and appeal that illustrates why nature has no rival in creating a tapestry of its own, without human encroachment, resulting in a forever-wild expanse of sheer beauty. Amid a sea of lush, long grasses, the dominant elements are two stately trees, their barks strikingly carrying the ravage of fungi and mosses, with the left tree being split, all indications of a harsh environment, where coastal winds and spray are constant threats to survival. Yet both trees stand proudly upright, their strength and majesty surveying the whole area with pride and dignity. The trees around them, however, are not as fortunate, most of them being more spindly and growing obtusely and haphazardly, as though nature had deliberately orchestrated this arrangement in order to test the survival of the fittest.  As a recompense for this, nature has delightfully covered this whole area with a sumptuous carpet of verdant grasses, the gorgeous green hues of which provide a superb color contrast to the extensive varieties of grays and light browns of the trees. These thickly bunched grasses are long and slender, so that they can both royally display droplets of moisture on their arching stems yet have the strength in numbers to bend gracefully, with majestic precision, in even the fiercest of winds that may pervade this area throughout the year. The waves of grass certainly complement the waves of the relentless sea that is near at hand. This seemingly “untouched by mankind” vertical scape, is a lasting tribute to how nature respects the environment.  Yes, trees will fall well before maturity, in so doing nurturing the grasses and trees that remain, resulting in a landscape of wildness and majesty, that one hopes will continue for ages to come. One can truly marvel at this image of wild and scenic splendor, artistically seen and captured by the artist.

Peter A. Marr

Terraces of Havasu Falls by Gary Thompson

Terraces of Havasu
Gary Thompson

 Gary has four outstanding waterfall prints in this exhibition, all of which eloquently speak to his passion and love for the photographic landscape. Waterfalls are inspired examples of the grandeur and nobility of nature, and I chose Terraces at Havasu to comment further on, because not only does this image have the magic of moving water, it also has the beauty and vitality of an island oasis. The power and majesty of the cataract plunging over the towering rock structures is truly impressive, made all the more breathtaking by the soft, directional lighting, which reveals all of the details and textures of the rock gradations and fissures, heightening the impact and visual interest of the photograph. The lovely range of warm colors of the rocks and the bright greens of the vegetation that clings precariously to the steep ledges all add to the visual admiration of this striking waterfall. Spectacularly, at some distance away, there is a small island, reminiscent of a desert oasis, where the turbulent water from the falls flows partly around this rocky outcrop, as well as cascading over the lowest features of this island, in a series of terraces, ones that have been smoothed over the ages by the action of the water. Nature has graciously made sure that areas of this rocky outcrop would survive, well above the level of the terraces, allowing shrubs and small trees to flourish, even though soil and detritus matter must be marginal for sustained growth, at least, ample moisture is never a problem. The superb illumination highlights every detail, structure, and foliage of these impressive plants, especially delineating all of the color and features of the tree at the left hand side. For a tree to grow this size in such a precarious environment is a stellar tribute to nature’s powers of survival, even to emphasizing its vertical structure, one that mirrors the plunging waterfall impeccably. The camera exposure has been controlled to perfection, allowing the falls to look as though they are plunging gently and softly over the precipice, whilst the rivulets cascading over the terraces are more individually defined as they flow into the stream below. This awesome spectacle has been impressively captured by the artist, resulting in an amazing image, a real tour de force of waterfall pictures.

 Peter A. Marr

Stepping Stones by Phyllis Thompson

Stepping Stones
Phyllis Thompson

This is an image that has a universal and timeless appeal, one that has a mystical, almost magical aura that is just awesome. One hopes that every observer will take the time to explore every element and facet of this uplifting print, and form their own opinion as to what it means and says to them. The color palette is exquisite, made all the more striking by the soft warm overhead illumination, which reveals delicate and saturated hues with equal intensity and brilliance, and results in the shadows being more clearly defined. The impressive stands of trees on each side of the lake form a majestic background and add to the strong sense of design. The diffuse cloud covering that is idyllically reflected in the rippleless lake, helps emphasize the line of rocks and the lovely reed designs, that are light and delicate, contrasting visually with the reeds that are more boldly displayed against the reflections of the lovely forested surroundings on the left side of the lake. It is pertinent now to comment on the central theme of this delightful image, namely the rocks. They are distinguished, fairly large structures, that save for one, wind their way into the lake before they abruptly stop, forming a line of irregular stepping stones that appear to have no final destination in mind, whilst to their left, there is an isolated large rock that is surrounded by tall reeds. The soft directional lighting emphasizes the wonderful variety of shapes and color gradations of the stones, without revealing their purpose. It is probable that these rocks are all that remains of moraine deposits, left over after glacial action carved out this majestic lake. What is not clear is whether these large stones were maneuvered into place to create a line of stepping stones to a venue in the lake that has now vanished. Certainly, these stones are too far apart for today’s humans to comfortably use them as a passageway. Hence the mystery that remains unsolved to this day, as to why are these stones set in such linear fashion on a direct line to nowhere? I will not elaborate on my own theory of what is the relevance of these unique stepping stones, so I will leave it up to every observer to form their own opinion. It is left to thank the artist most sincerely, for capturing the mood and majesty of an outstanding image for all to admire for its visual excitement and pictorial grandeur.


Peter A. Marr

Keene Valley Sunset by Gary Thompson

Keene Valley Sunset
Gary Thompson

As the setting sun disappears over the distant hills, the author has dramatically captured a magnificent sunset, which just by itself would make a superb nature scape of brilliantly hued clouds, resplendently displaying against the evening sky. What makes the full print so entrancing and spellbinding, is the equally stunning foreground, in itself as haunting and memorable as the cloud formations above. The end result is a landscape that is full of vitality and mystery that expresses the passage of time across the land with serene eloquence. There is drama and atmosphere as though the clouds had to put on a spectacular show in appreciation of the exquisite pastoral scene below, not to rival it, but that the combination would result in an image of outstanding inspiration and significance. All the elements of the image, pattern, light and color, fit together harmoniously. This is especially true when one studies the color contrasts, where the clouds radiant in their wide range of gorgeous warm hues, look down on a serene, rural expanse that has a very restricted color range, with a wide diversity of values, yet together, they complement each other to perfection. The powerful foreground has graphic instincts that are painterly in both mood and style. The rhythmic patterns of the hay field dramatically lead the observer’s eyes to a tranquil setting of a seemingly deserted dwelling, whose only companion is a tall, lone pine tree, majestically towering into the sky beyond. This idyllic, scene is set against a line of forest trees, in which the deep greens of the trees provide a lovely backdrop to the scintillating colors of the clouds. Adding to the isolation and loneliness of this valley setting is the light mist that is starting to form in the foreground of the house. One can imagine that as the evening progresses, the awesome sky will be featureless, whilst the house and lone pine tree will be wrapped in a pervading fog. Happily, the memory of Gary’s idyllic masterpiece will always be with us, thanks to his outstanding, monumental print.

 Peter A. Marr


Additional Gallery Picks

Letchworth Morning by John Williamson


Letchworth Morning
by John Williamson

John Williamson has very skillfully captured the ambiance of an early Autumn morning at Letchworth State Park in his photographic print titled, most appropriately, “Letchworth Morning”. Silky veins of backlit fog zigzag from side to side across the scene outlining the rims of different sections of the walls of the canyon. This creates alternate triangular planes among different sections of the canyon wall producing excellent balance and a feeling of depth for the viewer. The exposure is superb in that the fog is warm but bright, and excellent detail is retained in the darker but colorful canopies of the trees. Two layers of clouds echo the horizontal wall in the background to fill the entire image with interesting composition. The vertical format adds uniqueness to a subject that is more commonly photographed horizontally.

Letchworth Impressions by Steve Tryon


Letchworth Impressions
by Steve Tryon

Steve Tryon has made a beautiful impressionistic image of a sunrise through the canopies of trees along the edge of the canyon at Letchworth State Park. He uses two identical backlit images of the same scene to create this poignant photograph. The image that is closest to the right of the other is larger and darker thus more dominant while the other image to the left and further back in the scene is slightly smaller, lighter and more ghostly. The echoing patterns of the two images fully fill the square format of the photograph. The combination of the two images produces a nice balance and wonderful harmony for this delicate impressionistic image. The intricate patterns of the leaves give the image an Asiatic flavor. Note the interesting juxtaposition of the two sunbursts. What would you title such an image?  Obviously you would call it  “Letchworth Impressions”.

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