“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”– Ansel Adams
The camera is a remarkable tool. It is ubiquitous; from cell phones, to point and shoot and the most complex cameras, there is probably a camera in almost every household in America.
Most of the images that are captured are the everyday memories of families and friends—vacations, special trips or events, that type of occasion.
But put a camera in the hands of an artist, and magic happens.
And magic is what the Bryan Cultural Series 20108 Invitational Fine Art Photography Show at Glenn Eure’s Ghost Fleet Gallery in Nags Head brings to the Outer Banks.
Featuring the works of 15 Outer Banks photographers, what is perhaps most remarkable about the show is how diverse the vision of what constitutes a compelling photo can be.
George Wood, whose selections include an image of vivid colors that are layers of photos merged together and a perfectly crisp, clear picture of a door and stairwell in the tropics, talked about how each image needs to tell a story.
“A perfect picture that doesn’t tell a story isn’t anything,” he said.
And the pictures did tell stories—the stories compelling.
Eve Turek’s photography tells a story of a peaceful setting and time to reflect upon life. Her photograph, Meditation, of trees that seem to be floating in air, their only connection their own reflections, won international gold in 2014 and was part of the show. It was not her only piece though, and all her work had the same sense of peace and focus about them.
Next to the muted hues of her works, were the powerful colors of the natural world that Mark Buckler captures—the ocean in turmoil off the north coast of Kauai, Hawaii or a bear, intent upon capturing a salmon frozen in time as the waters of the river splash about it.
What was perhaps most exceptional in the photography was how intense the colors often were, and the knowledge that those colors are the colors of every day life.
Gordon Kreplin's image of a fishing boat at a dock in Colington and Jeff Lewis’ River Otter were excellent examples of the ability of the camera to capture the intensity of the light and shade and colors of the moment.
Both photographers talked about how remarkable the light was when they captured the image. Lewis in particular recalled how he was entranced by the colors of the water that morning and how special it was when suddenly an otter began to swim right toward him.
Not all of the images, however, contained the colors of the world around us. As a photographer for National Geographic, Chris Bickford certainly knows and understands color photography, but the images he brought to the show were his black and white pictures of the sea and surfers.
Bickford’s use of shade and contrast and how that can tell the story is every bit as good as any color image and his work is evocative and thought-provoking.
“Photography is,” he said, “a portal to the world.”
Linda Lauby, who is an excellent photographer but is better known as a writer and publisher, took a different path in bringing her work to life. Mounted on stretched canvas, her images were superimposed on a faint backdrop of antique USGS maps of the Outer Banks. The effect was to create multiple levels of story—the story of the image, the story of the map and how the map and image were related.
With 15 artists represented, it’s not possible to write about all of them. Danial Pullen’s images of Hatteras Island were a part of the show, as were some remarkable photos taken in the Shenandoah Valley by Mike Hogan.
There was so much more to see that writing about everything is not possible. But the show is worth taking an hour or perhaps a bit more out of a day and seeing the world through the eyes of the Outer Banks camera.
A marvelous tour-de-force of local talent and the power of the lens, the show will be on display through Saturday, October 27.