New Photography Exhibit Takes Viewers ‘Near and Far’
By Mark Dreisonstok
The Falls Church Arts Gallery exhibits a collection of fine art photography that is not only unique and eye-catching in terms of its striking images, but also by visually implementing a stimulating theme. Entitled “Near and Far”, the exhibition presents photographs of images near and far – a theme realized sometimes in the same photograph, sometimes in two photographs representing different spatial perspectives but displayed in close proximity to each other.
Constance Phelps, former editor of National Geographic magazine, served on the exhibit’s jury, noting, “This exhibit explores the heights, depths and macro world of photography. Photographers show a wide range of talent and sensitivity to their subjects. Some have taken the “Near and Far” theme literally using the method of placing the foreground as close to the lens as possible. Controlling depth of field is a fine art featured in many of the photographs in this inspiring exhibition.
Some locations come from afar, including a close-up image of a room in distant Bulgaria and a river panorama of “the golden Arno, as it soars / Straight to the heart of Florence”, as the writes Elizabeth Barrett Browning. and Breanna Cuchara captures in her photograph “Le pont de Florence”.
The District of Columbia is presented from unusual vantage points, such as an aerial view of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sweeping spiral staircase, Memorial Library (David Horowitz, “Grand Descent”). A firm favorite of this gallery visitor was James Hengst’s “Behind the Curtin”, a view of the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden with a large human mouth painted on an art poster as well as two spectators “glancing.” ‘eye’, so to speak, from behind a curtain of autumn colored foliage.
A particularly poignant work in the Washington Mall is Breanna Cuchara’s “Covid Memorial at the Washington Monument.” Planted white flags are shown in close-up with the Washington Monument looming in the distance, a reminder of far and near aspects as we are wise to be socially distant but have become, in a sense, closer and closer due of the common experience of the pandemic.
Rock Creek Park Cemetery is also relatively close to Falls Church News-Press readers. Photographer Pamela Huffman visited the location not too far by car to give us “Copper & Stone,” a close-up of glass on a Gothic arched window reflecting trees and graves some distance behind. From the same photographer we have new growth and ‘chipping old wood’ up close with the ‘Symphony of Heaven’ (as the photo is titled) above and far beyond.
Nature also plays a key role in other photographs in the “Near and Far” exhibition. “Both far and near,” as William Wordsworth puts it in verse, are two of Bob Friedman’s “Trees in the Snow.” A barren tree close-up in the foreground is shadowed in the distance in the background by another equally leafless tree against a snowy landscape.
Rounding out our review tour of “Near and Far,” Jane Podesta’s “Relaxing in Ginter Garden” and Christy Gavitt’s “Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Party Founding.” The first is a tranquil close-up view of a lily pond at the Ginter Botanical Garden outside of Richmond, Virginia. The second is from the North Korean capital Pyongyang and features a large Communist Party spectacle from where the photographer’s colorful depiction was taken, we assume, from a good distance away!
“From me far away, with others too near,” wrote Shakespeare in the “Sonnets,” and this reviewer emerged from the exhibit with thoughts on how not only objects but also other human beings can be near , but also distant and distant. Pamela Huffman, events coordinator at the gallery, reminds us that although photographic images are of nature, cities and objects, we would do well to pay close attention to the people in the photographs, as they sometimes help tell the story. history of images. as well as adding visual perspective.