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Wilder photos

March 21, 2002|BY KEVIN CLAPP

Bruce Wilder's dad was a slide man, projecting his photographs on a screen as his son soaked up the inspiration.

The fledgling hobby grew more passionate after an older Wilder took workshops on printing and developing.

Along the way, he's not sure why beyond enjoying their look, he became enamored with black and white photography, taking comfort in the contrast between light and dark.

For more than 30 years photography has been a hobby for Wilder, 50, a Keedysville resident and owner of Turn the Page Bookstore Cafe on North Main Street in Boonsboro. Often, his work - landscapes, nudes or others - has found its way onto the pages of Antietam Review, the regional literary magazine accepting submissions for its next issue through Saturday, March 30.

"I just like people to see what I'm doing. It's an expression of art, and I guess I like to see other people's ideas of them," Wilder says. "That's where you get the satisfaction from seeing what other people think. And it can go either way. Some people hate it but it doesn't mean everyone hates it."

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The pages of Antietam Review 2001 were graced by his black and white print, "Haylifts, Bunratty, Ireland." Depicted in the background is hay propped atop seven pedestals - stone mushrooms, Wilder calls them - to keep the straw from rotting. In the foreground are seven more pedestals standing in a group.

Wilder finds the photo calming with its contrast of pedestals with and without hay. Review photography editor Benita Keller agrees, and says the work is indicative of its author's personality.

"I think he's working very hard to push past the beauty of everyday things and bring new light to them," she says. "I think there's always a strange, very quiet, subtleness to the subjects of his work."

Wilder has been able to draw inspiration from a range of experience, from trips to Ireland with his wife, novelist Nora Roberts, to experiences in Prague, California and in his driveway.

Earlier this month, he spent two weeks in the Florida Keys photographing models and landscapes that captured his fancy.

Keller says Wilder excels when taking landscapes, whether the photographs are his images from Ireland or of a bridge taken locally.

"Landscapes are tough, and people don't realize how tough they are because you have to cut through all the clichs you've seen before," she says. "(Haylifts) is just a very beautiful landscape that pushes past that, and gives this new vision to something that's somewhat ordinary."

Once she gets all submissions, three prints from each photographer, Keller, adjunct professor at Shepherd College and a freelance photographer, will lay them all out in front of her to decide which photos will make the cut for the next issue.

For the first time, the magazine is branching out beyond its Tri-State roots to welcome entries from anyone, though she thinks it will take time for writers and photographers from beyond the region to take a crack at joining the Review.

As the deadline for submissions approaches, Wilder says he still needs to examine his photos to decide what he will submit. Probably, they will come from his Florida trip.

He also hopes to organize a local shoot in the coming weeks. But he's not the kind of photographer who can sling his camera over his shoulder and expect to find something to capture his imagination while out and about.

"I walk around and if you don't see anything you don't see anything," he says. "And I guess I'm kind of critical. When I look through the lens I ask, 'Where is this image going to end up?' Am I taking this because everyone takes it or can I do something different with it?'"

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