January thaw



Surprisingly, this January is turning out to be somewhat active for me. Usually, being stuck inside is a down period for my photography. So far, though, this year is being a bit different. Not only have I been making an effort to make some photographs, but a photo of mine has been chosen as one of thirty for a rather high-profile exhibit here in Madison.

A couple of weeks ago a call went out for photos of iconic Madison sites for an exhibit at the Monona Terrace conference center to encourage visitors to explore Madison beyond the capitol square and the few blocks around the convention center. So I sent in a few examples and one was chosen, a photo I took in 2009 of Arboretum Drive at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum on a beautiful fall morning. It’s been one of my more popular photos on Flickr and otherwise, so maybe it’s not too surprising, but still it feels good. What’s interesting about this photo is that this was taken on the first day I decided that my photography had developed to the point that I would switch from shooting jpg to RAW, so there’s that personal connection to it, as well. One nice additional perk of being in the exhibit is that the Terrace will frame the print gratis and return it to me with the frame, assuming it doesn’t sell. And, there’s also the opportunity to put some things in the gift shop there for the duration. All of which is a new thing for me.

The exhibit, called “Reflections: Madison,” curated by David Wells (Gallery Director at Edgewood College and curator for Sundance Cinemas, Madison), will begin on 2 February as part of the grand re-opening at the Terrace. It will run through the beginning of October. Apparently, the show will be in the main corridor between the convention center and the Hilton Hotel, so it should get a lot of traffic.

Last week, I also roused myself to get out to one of the Center for Photography at Madison‘s 3d Thursday programs where photography scholar James Rhem was speaking. It turned out to be rather interesting, as he addressed what he calls one of the “open questions” of photography, the idea of what makes a portrait revealing, using examples by Walker Evans and Richard Avedon. While he generated some good discussion, as well, I felt that there was too much emphasis on the representational aspect of photography. For me, the real question is that a photograph is a thin trace of chemicals on a ground and that representation is somewhat irrelevant in assessing the aesthetic effect of photographs, and art in general. That’s maybe a discussion for another post, but it was worthwhile going out to hear him speak.


About Ron Wiecki

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