This photo by Jennifer Tabor, on display at the Gary L. Freeburg Art Gallery at Kenai Peninsula College for the 2005 Rarefied Light exhibit, is titled 6th & E. The digital photo was taken from the roof of a parking garage in Anchorage.
Each year, Kenai Peninsula College hosts “Rarefied Light,” a statewide juried photography exhibit. As with any year, the event showcases photographs with an artistic edge, with entries chosen by a respected photographer from submissions sent by Alaska photographers.
The work of so many Kenai Peninsula photographers made the cut this year, however, the touring exhibit's stop at KPC’s Gary L. Freeburg Art Gallery almost seems like a homecoming.
Peninsula photographers whose work is displayed among the exhibit's 54 photos include William Heath of Kenai and Jayne Jones, Clayton Hillhouse, Roy Shapley and John Demske of Soldotna. Sterling photographer Jennifer Tabor’s photo, “6th & E,” was accepted and received an honorable mention.
For Tabor, who teaches a beginning photography course at Soldotna Middle School, getting a piece into “Rarefied Light” has been a longtime goal.
“I’ve always wanted to submit to ‘Rarefied Light,’ because it’s the premiere photography event in Alaska,” Tabor said.
John Demskes Soul Of a McIntosh (apple) is a digital photo of an extreme close-up of a cross-section of the fruit.
Tabor, who calls herself “a perpetual student” as well as a teacher, said she is generally quite critical of her work. Of the photo she eventually chose to submit, which was taken from the roof of a parking ramp in Anchorage, Tabor said it just seemed like the right one.
“A photo has to feel right, and that one did,” she said.
There are ties beyond simply living on the peninsula binding the exhibiting artists. Most have taken courses at KPC; Tabor’s “6th & E” and one of Demske’s entries were assignments in Jones’ “Introduction to Digital Photography” course during the 2005 spring semester. Many of the artists also are members of the Kenai Peninsula Photographer’s Guild, a group designed to showcase the work of regional shutterbugs.
Demske’s submissions, “Soul Of a McIntosh (apple)” and “Bartlett Pear,” show cross-sections of a McIntosh apple and a pear in extreme close-up. Fellow students in the digital class gave the shots a positive review, which gave Demske a reason to cut up all kinds of fruit.
“The stem edge had a bruise on it,” Demske recalls of the apple that inspired the shots. “I cut it and looked at it and said, ‘That’s an interesting cross-section.’ By the end of the class, no fruit was safe.”
For the 30-year photographer, whose work also was accepted for 1999’s “Rarefied Light,” there is one fruit whose cross-section remains elusive.
“I still haven’t gotten a decent pomegranate.”
This photo by Jayne Jones is titled Family Wall. The digital photo was taken during a visit to the Smokey Mountains, where Jones grew up. As an artist I like to see metaphors and meaning other than the obvious subject matter in the image, Jones said.
The purpose of KPC classes and the Guild is to help artists and beginners learn new techniques and learn from each other. According to KPC art instructor Celia Anderson, who organized the exhibition, and photography instructor-exhibitor Jones, this also is a big part of Rarefied Light.
“For all of our peninsula photographers, (the show) means a huge amount because it brings in new outlooks,” Anderson said.
“It’s a great way to compare what you’re doing with other people across the state and to learn from what other people are doing,” Jones said.
The 2005 exhibit also brings the opportunity to see and learn from the work of the juror. Jurors are professional photographers with far-reaching reputations flown to Alaska to judge the year’s entrants, but their own work is generally missing from the exhibit. Linda Connor, a San Francisco photographer known for platinum prints with a rich and delicate tonal range, will change that for 2005’s Rarefied Light. Two of her photos are part of the exhibit.
Jones will give a talk about the exhibit during a walk-through at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the gallery. The event is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about the show, interested in joining the Kenai Photographer’s Guild or learning more about photography classes offered at KPC.
The 2005 “Rarefied Light” exhibit opens today with a reception in the gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibit will be on display until Jan. 22.
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