Speaking images

Museum opens juried photography exhibition

Museum opens juried photography exhibition

January 31, 2009|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

Skilled photographers lend a voice to their subjects.

Take a black-and-white piece by photographer Sara W. Howell of Gainesville, Va., titled "Stack of Cars."

Through it, a junked car in a heap bawls, "Fossil fuels! Ow!"

At least that was the interpretation of observer Mary Bausman, 63, of Smithsburg.

Bausman attended the Saturday opening of the 76th annual Cumberland Valley Photographic Salon at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

"I love the expression of the car," Bausman said. Its smashed façade twisted the headlights and grill into the appearance of a pleading gaze.


"That is great," she said. "I mean, that's the way it is. Isn't that neat?"

Her husband, Cal Bausman, said he liked a portrait called "The Old Man from the Sea" by Christopher C. Davis of Martinsburg, W.Va.

"I just love the way he captured the light and the way he captured the character of the old man," he said.

Though they do not refer to themselves as photographers, the Bausmans work with photography in their graphic design business, Owl Mountain Graphics.

"We know what went into this and what's coming out," Mary Bausman said.

Their friend and business associate, Perk Hull of Hagerstown, photographed "Keffer's Pear," the piece that won Best in Show.

"I think (Hull) had a lot of competition," Mary Bausman said. "In fact, I wouldn't have wanted to be a judge."

The photography contest draws amateur and professional artists from the Tri-State area, Virginia and Washington, D.C. This year's entries were juried by Tom Beck, chief curator at the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and Robert Caputo, award-winning photographer and writer for National Geographic magazine. Of 291 entries, the jurors chose 56 prints and one slide for the exhibition.

Caren Cramer, the museum's director of development and marketing, said the contest is one of few that gives area photographers an opportunity to participate in juried competition.

"It's a chance to have their work judged. Sometimes, that's the best feedback a photographer can get," Cramer said. "We encourage anyone whose work was not selected to come and view the exhibition so they can see what was chosen and have aspirations for another year."

Cramer said participants in the contest are driven by a desire to capture the beauty of their subject in just the right moment.

"Having dabbled in photography, I appreciated the time and energy it takes, the patience required to wait for that exact moment," Cramer said.

She pointed out "Feeding Time," a photo by Joseph Mikus of Winchester, Va., which depicts three baby birds poking their heads out of a hole in a tree to greet their mother outside.

"I am just struck by the clarity, by the imagery of the mom coming back to her babies and the babies saying, 'Feed me, feed me,'" she said.

Members of the public are invited to cast ballots for the most popular photograph.

Public reception

Conservit Inc. will sponsor a public reception for the 76th annual Cumberland Valley Photographic Salon on Sunday, Feb. 15, from 2:30 and 4 p.m. at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

The exhibition continues through March 22.

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