Exhibit produces award-winning photographs

The walls of Blaine City Hall served as exhibition gallery space for an eclectic collection of photographic images last month.

The 2014 Art of Photography exhibit featured 36 photographic works from 17 different artists – everyone from backyard photographers to professionals.

Those photographers brought a wide variety of artistic techniques and styles to the exhibit and a Jan. 21 artists’ reception attracted photographers, art-lovers, community members, and members of the Blaine Arts Council to see the photographs on display.

After exhibit judge Molly Cronk made some opening remarks at the reception, awards were presented with the assistance of Blaine Arts Council member Ellie Pflager. Below is the judge’s commentary on the winning pieces.

First place “Woodie” by Mark Hinrichs 

Technically this piece was refreshing and edgy. The piece had several different elements to it and was successful at pulling them all together with unity. I first noticed the duck’s beak and thought it had a painterly quality that the orange popped out against the rest of the piece. I was drawn back to the piece several times by the treatment of the foreground and how subtle the snow and branches worked together against the duck and the motion of the water.

Second place “Eucalyptus Dream” by Sarah Filipi

Large scale and printing technique give this photo a feeling of a book illustration. Perfect example of life imitating art, this photo tells a story of a far-away location with a wise old tree promising knowledge to all who walk its path. I loved the way it led your eye along to the focal point, it has a calming Zen-like feeling to it. Overall it successfully inspired imagination beyond the literal subject, nice work.

Third place “Moonscape” by Pat McDermott

This organic image enchanted me at first glance. I was drawn to the subject and spirituality it could reflect. The barren lines of the branches reaching out against the moon not only suggested a reflection in water, but they also mimic roots deep within the earth, or veins within a single leaf. The colors were like stains that add texture to the two-dimensional outline of the tree. Haunting image.

Best of Show “Pond Iris” by Sharyn Erickson

A breathtaking portrait of a single flower, this piece captivated me. The use of light is reminiscent of an early 1600 baroque painting. The composition classily arranged with three points perfectly balancing the piece. The colors are so rich against the dark background it forces you to really appreciate all the tonal qualities alive in nature. Phenomenal use of light source brings piece to an exquisite level.

After the award presentation the attending photographers got their chance to introduce themselves to the group and to describe their photographic techniques.

According to Hinrichs, first-place winner and only two-time entrant, he had never been in a juried show before last month’s open exhibit, Winter in Minnesota.

“My brother told me about the contest,” Hinrichs said. “If it hadn’t been for him I never would have entered.”

Cindy Benson, a semi-professional photographer, who has several pieces on display thought “this was a fun way to get to know other photographers in the area. It’s always exciting to see the work of other artists and I think it stretches my creative ideas.”

In closing Cronk said, “Overall, I was very impressed at the skill level and want to encourage all the artists to continue creating and sharing their work with the public.”

Sue Austreng is at
[email protected]

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