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Peter's Picks of the Month

January 2 - January 27, 2008


Peter Marr picks his
Five Favorite Photos of the Show


All images copyright by the individual photographers


Whorls Above

by Michael J. Murdoch

This is just an incredible well-seen and photographed image. The design is phenomenal, eye-catching and dramatic, yet maybe controversial to a few, as the leading element bisects the picture vertically. I see exact division of the photographic space as a great strength, with the eye being led immediately in and upward with the powerful last of the sailboat, strongly supported by all of the ropes, bringing your eye to the center focus of the base of the mainsail, a sail that dominates the left hand side of the photograph. This sail is so beautifully captured by the photographer, and it exhibits great strength and a soaring presence, admirably balancing the great power of the main mast. The intriguing "shadowed" designs on the mainsail are also a great complement to the overall image. The crowning glory of this photograph is the clouds in the sky, which occupy the majority of the space on the right hand side. Against a lovely blue sky, the clouds create a circular, powerful motion, and this dramatic sweep of the clouds offers a wonderful contrast against all of the vertical elements in the mast and sails. The circular motion of the clouds takes the eye continually back to the mast and the mainsail, and integrates the picture so movingly. The image is superbly printed and is just a delight to look at and to absorb all the nuances of the elements in the print that contribute to such an outstanding picture. After studying all of the 160+ prints in this exhibition, all of exceptional quality, I always came back unhesitatingly to Whorls Above as my favourite picture. 



by Clayton R. Gehring

This incredible dramatic shot of a child being heroically rescued by firemen from a burning building is a truly memorable image of the photojournalism genre. Given that such a picture is a striking example of the photographer being in the right place at the precise dramatic moment, it could equally well be argued that if you wanted to "set-up" such a precise scenario, you could not do a better job than the superb image that was captured in this photograph. Every element in this picture adds to the overwhelming power and strength of this dramatic rescue. From the life-saving ladder dominating the foreground right to the billowing smoke from the burning building in the background, everything is framed superbly. Every element in the photographic space has an important contribution, and all of them are captured extremely well. Obviously, the real intense drama is focused on the firemen and the child being rescued. We see so clearly the absolute strength and determination of the two firemen doing the actual rescue, the anxiety and concern in the eyes of the third fireman, yet we also see the love and tenderness of the central fireman as he lifts the little girl to safety. We are eminently aware of the young girl, fragile, unconscious, so unaware, yet the scene purveys hope that her precious life may be saved. I could write a great deal more about this outstanding very moving image, but I hope all who see this picture will come up with their own thoughts and feelings of what it means to them. I would like to think that looking at this print would give one an incredible feeling for the outstanding work and dedication that these brave firemen accomplish, and to sincerely compliment the photographer for his skill in capturing such a heartfelt and dramatic image. 


Room with a View

by George Wallace

This image so wonderfully captures a scenic view of some grandeur through an open window of a modest bedroom. What makes the picture so unique and fascinating, is that the entire vista is seen through the eyes of the photographer using the powerful elements of his model's legs and feet to direct the viewer's focus. Without this strong human element, the photograph would otherwise be just an excellent record shot, well seen, and very well printed. The dramatic introduction of the model's legs and feet particularly the right leg and foot, that adds the mystery quality to the scene, making the viewer consciously look at all the other details in the picture, and hence lifting this image up into a powerful picture that it undoubtedly is. One immediately wants to know the relevance of other elements in the scene, and most importantly, one wants to know more about the photographer. We already have some information from the position of the bare right leg and foot, pointing so dramatically to the scene through the window, the left leg directs our eye back into the frame, and from the open window, our eye goes back to the modest lamp and table which has a pair of eye glasses and jewelry on top. This partial information is dramatically challenged as we travel from the plain white sheet and pillowcase to the well-worn oval picture in the headboard. The picture is of a religious figure, possibly depicting Christ, with his hand possibly blessing the viewer, but with wide- open eyes possibly depicting rapprochement. Whatever the mystery, or maybe lack of it to some, the whole image is so powerful, satisfying and thought provoking. I find that it is a superb composition which certainly leads the observer to study every element in the scene. Perhaps there is no mystery, maybe it is just a well taken grab shot. To me, it is entirely fascinating and well worthy of being one of the top three images in this excellent exhibition.

Beach Pals
 by Daniel J. Nolan

This portrait of six young children in a far-away land is an exquisite example of capturing the spontaneity of a precious moment in time. You could never pose these children and achieve such a delightful image. Every one of these young subjects has a story to tell, every one of them in reacting differently, from innocence, curiosity, happiness, apprehension and wonderment. They are all probably thinking and asking "why does this man want to take our picture?" "Why should we sit here and pose for him?" Why, why, why. Whether it was a simple grab shot, or a hastened "Could you please let me take a shot of you as a group" The observer does not know; only the photographer really knows. What is most important is that the end result is a beautifully exposed and printed group portrait, that is memorable for both the photographer and all of us privileged enough to see the final print. We are transported into the innocent lives and privacy of six wonderful young children, a truly treasured moment, exquisitely captured, so that all of us can enjoy. Furthermore, all of us can conjure up our own ideas of what these children are like, what childhood experiences they had, and we can stop to envision where they might be now and what has happened in their lives since the picture was taken. This is just a delightful image that all of us would have loved to have taken. It sums up happiness, curiosity, spontaneity and tremendous warmth and satisfaction.

Canadice Forever

by Nigel Kent

This large, beautifully presented print is so powerful, yet so gentle, and it encompasses the element of mystery, that almost all good pictures do. I really loved the great contrast of warmth, color and shape of the dominant main element, namely a fairly large canoe, coupled with the coolness of the water and the misty image of the landscape at the head of the lake. The dramatic main element of the canoe with the wonderful curves of the sides of the boat, culminating in a powerful upraised prow reaching into the unknown, is complemented with the strong horizontals of the seats, the texture and design of the seat material, and of course with the dramatic warm colors of the inside of the canoe. All of the lines inside the boat and the texture and design of the canoe materials add to the great detail that makes this photograph so exquisite. The mystery element to me is one of grandeur, of beautiful workmanship, all reaching out into the unknown expanse, and of the need for someone to take this canoe into the lake in the search of adventure. The contrast of the superbly sharp, delightfully colorful and beautifully contoured canoe, with the pale, soft, misty lake and surrounding envisions is breathtaking. It is a truly superb image, beautifully photographed and printed; an image well worthy of being among the very best prints in this exhibition.



Peter Marr

We are very grateful to Peter for his thorough
review and selection for Peter's Picks.

Peter was born in England in 1935 and came to live in the United States in 1968. He worked for the Eastman Kodak Company for 34 years, retiring in 1998. During his employment and continuing into retirement, he has been an enthusiastic amateur photographer. His photography has won him numerous awards throughout Kodak and in International Salons, including 5 George Eastman Medals, which is the top honor awarded to the most outstanding picture in the Annual Kodak International Salon. He has served as a judge in both local and international photographic competitions for the past 20 years, and is a Past president of the Kodak Camera Club and past chairman of many of the Kodak Camera Club organizations. In the past five years or so, he has devoted his photographic skills and interest into nature photography, notably bird photography. His bird photography has been the subject of several one-person exhibits, the most recent being at Ding Darling NWR, in Sanibel, Florida, The Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, New York, and at the Webster Public Library in Webster, NY.



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