November’s First Friday Gallery Walk invited a variety of artists to show their work across many platforms, and this month many of the participating venues offered the works of photographers among their displays.
By Hand Gallery, the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center and Pictura Gallery all opened their photographic displays starting at 5 p.m. Friday and will continue the shows throughout the month.
By Hand Gallery displayed the photographs of Tom Duffy, whose two collections “Harvesting Limestone” and “Nurturing the Heartland” shared the space in the shop’s gallery.
“What inspires me are interesting things — man and nature — I see interesting lines, interesting light and make photographs,” Duffy said.
Duffy said he has been a photographer for 12 years now and his hobby began back in the darkroom. Duffy said he stopped when he became tired of that process and returned around the beginning of digital photography.
The photographs’ locations range from Venice to Ellettsville and beyond, not including human figures, sometimes including man-made structures such as barns or homes.
“I’ve evolved from doing this sort of stuff, actually putting people back in the photos,” Duffy said. “I had another show at the Arc Gallery in Chicago that opened at the end of October and it focuses on the limestone quarries and also on sustainable pasture farming.”
Some of the photos, such as a sunrise shot of one of the limestone quarries and a shot of a town partially reflected in a rearview mirror, are part of these respective series.
The collection on sustainable farming was one that was partially inspired by curiosity on the topic and by having children who are both vegetarian, Duffy said.
“I spent a year and a half with two small-farm farmers, looking at their work, where they’re really trying without drugs to raise these animals,” Duffy said. “Sustainable farming and pasture farming seemed like an interesting intermediate point to consider.”
The Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center displayed in both of its first floor galleries the work of distinctive photographers.
One was Steve Nyktas, who focused in his collection, “A Burnt Marshmallow Dropped In the Dirt,” on the miniscule with a variety of close-up shots of subjects. His photos ranged from snapshots of socks for his infant son and burnt marshmallows on the ground, which gave the show its name.
In contrast, the photos of Jay Garst, Amanda Thompson and Amy Fender in their series “Grounding” featured human figures in a variety of natural surroundings and showcased deliberate choices for wardrobe and styling, including dresses with long trains floating in streams.
Pictura Gallery continued its exhibition of works by Rania Matar, “Becoming,” a series that includes photographs of mothers and daughters in their home environments.
In the Brick Gallery, photographer John Woodcock’s series “The Play of Light” took a retrospective look at the last eight years of Woodcock’s photographic career, at photos that in some way emphasized light.
“Basically, a lot of times photographers take pictures of significant things — beautiful things in nature, people in revealing moments — sometimes, you’re just out with your camera, nothing on your mind, and the light grabs you,” Woodcock said. “That’s true, in very different ways, in all these pictures.”
The photo locations range from Bloomington to New York to the airport to the views from the inside of airplanes.
Woodcock said he first took black and white photos during his time in the war and then again in graduate school, but stopped after coming to IU to teach and start raising a family with his wife Peggy, who is also a photographer. He said he started up again after his retirement.
“It was digital by then, and I didn’t know whether I was going to like that, but it turned out I do,” Woodcock said. “I just had a really good time with it and I realized — looking at my calendar, thinking about this show, writing my description for this show — I’ve had over 80 shows or performances of my photos in the last ten years.”
One particular image, taken outside of Woodcock’s home, seems almost like a painting. The large print depicts branches and small flecks of light dotting a blue-purple sky in the background.
“It has the magic, it’s mysterious, just the range of tiny details,” Woodcock said. “I think, for photography, luck favors the prepared eye.”
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