Kenai exhibit showcases photographers view of state

Eye on Alaska

Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2001

The current exhibit at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center gave photographers license to use their lenses to capture their ideas of what defines Alaska.

In gathering submissions for "Lights, Camera, Alaska," the Kenai Peninsula Photographers Guild show on display through Jan. 25 at the center, the guild asked for images on any subject relating to the state.

The result is a show comprised of scenery, wild animals, sunsets and other images that capture the majesty of Alaska.


"Roxy," by John Ferguson

The one connecting theme in the show seems to be the focus on the unspoiled nature of the state. There are some pictures with buildings visible in the background, some of fishing boats and one picture of bears in front of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, but mainly the photographers chose to stick to nature as a representation.

Life on the wild side is depicted in many submissions -- everything from fish and birds to caribou and bears.

One such picture is simply called "Untitled," a color shot by John Toppenberg in which a mother bear and cub soak up golden sun rays on a rocky mountain outcropping covered by bright green grass, shrubs and wildflowers. The bears and hillside are emphasized by the unfocused mountainside behind them, which is smothered in trees and plants, adding a jade green tinge to the shadow of the mountain.


"Untitled," by John Toppenberg

"Summer Rain," by Arnold Grisham, carries the bear theme. In this shot, a bear is

caught whipping its body back and forth, creating its own rain shower from its moisture-drenched coat.

William Heath captured the appearance of a lone seal popping its head out of the waters of the Cook Inlet to peer back at the camera in "Sunset Seal." The wet brown head in the foreground is dwarfed by the immensity of Mount Redoubt looming directly behind the curious creature. The photo was taken toward the end of a sunset, so the sky, mountains, water and seal are bathed in a pink and orange glow.


"Untitled," by Marianne Clark

"Fleet's In," by Greg Daniels, also captures a watery sunset. This time the view is focused on a number of fishing boats anchored for the night in the mouth of the Kenai River with soft pink hues lighting up the snow-capped mountains across the inlet.

"Autumn's End," another picture by Daniels, shows a leaf-strewn pond flanked by grassy banks and framed by a boarder of golden trees and mountains.

Any show that represents Alaska wouldn't be complete without pictures of the northern lights. Several aurora borealis images grace the show. "Sky Burst," by Jennifer Richardson, shows a marriage of greens and reds covering the sky. "Heads Up," by Lloyd Richardson, and "Winter Night Lights," by Jennifer Richardson, both show auroras streaking the sky above the tree line in greens, pinks and oranges.


"Summer Rai," by Arnold Grisham

Most of the photographs in the show are in color, but there are a few black-and-white ones. A trio of 8-by-10-inch shots by Reuben Rupp depict close-ups of fragile leaves and foliage, struggling under the weight of accumulated dew and moss. The interest level of these pictures is definitely heightened by trying to decipher some meaning from the titles: "No Billy, No," "Donkey Dancing in the Wind" and "Me Likey Pudding."

"Lights, Camera, Alaska" can be seen at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free through the winter. For more information, call 283-1991.

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