Photography show focuses on W.Va's Eastern Panhandle

January 14, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Three members of the Eastern Panhandle Photography Project, Frank Robbins, Carl Schultz and Curt Mason, gather for a recent photo. They are hosting an exhibit of their work through Jan. 31.
By Richard F. Belisle/Staff Writer

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Their assignment was this: Ramble across Berkeley and Jefferson counties and take pictures of people, places and events with an eye on how history will treat them.

Six area photographers, all with intermediate or better skills, who call themselves the Eastern Panhandle Photography Project, started their photographic quest in early August and completed their work in early December.

“Our goal,” said Frank Robbins, 64, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., coordinator of the project, “is to assemble some local photographers, interact as a team and produce some exhibit-worthy photographs that depict life in the Eastern Panhandle.”

He said some of the photos could be considered historic documents in time. “Some day in the future people might look to these photos as examples of the people, places and events that happened in our area.”

The group of six photographers heard lectures and had workshops and lessons on lighting, exposure and focus techniques, night shooting, landscapes and portraits, Robbins said.

A free exhibit of the group’s photos will be on display through Jan. 31 at the Charles Town Visitors Center at 108 N. George St. The 20-photograph exhibit begins with a reception today from 5 to 8 p.m.

Members of the group, in addition to Robbins, are Rip Smith, Mary LeMont, Carl Schultz, Nancy McKeithen and Curt Mason.

Robbins started in the hobby late in life at age 35. Smith has been shooting pictures for more than 40 years. Schultz dabbled in photography for 25 years before becoming serious about it two years ago.

Christmas presents as children got Mason and McKeithen started — Mason as a preteen with a Junior G-man camera and a set of darkroom chemicals; McKeithen with a Kodak Brownie she got when she was 5. LeMont got her start at age 10 with her grandfather’s Kodak box camera.

Robbins and Schultz will enter mostly black and white photographs developed in their darkrooms.

The photographs by Schultz, Smith, LeMont and McKeithen will be in color and developed digitally.

“This is an experimental program intended to bring together motivated photographers to achieve a common goal,” Robbins said. He said he hopes the project continues through 2011, but he’d like someone else to take it over.

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