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Peter Marr's Picks of the Show

Glimpses of Paradise:
images of the Finger Lakes

by John Francis McCarthy

November 3 - November 28, 2010

Peter Marr picked his favorite photos from the show by the featured and guest photographers
and also describes the strength of the images he has chosen.


All images copyright by the individual photographers


Frozen Bike by Thomas Barker

Frozen Bike
by Thomas Barker

The excellent panel of prints by the author shows an extensive range of both subject matter and locations, and are an impressive tribute to his artistic talents and photographic skills. I chose “Frozen Bike” to comment further on, because not only is the image well seen, captured and presented, but because it has the added intriguing mystery element, that possible even the photographer does not know the answer to. This is no run-of-the-mill bicycle, exemplified by several features from the frame to the shocks, and supported by the fact that it is very securely attached to the metal stand. Almost certainly, this bicycle is reasonably unique, and the pride and joy of the owner. Due to the large amount of snow in the print, the image is almost monochromatic, the only color relief being the distinctive hue of the frame, and the yellow highlight on the seat, that tends to continually draw our attention. There is an overall somber feeling present as we look pensively at this solitary bicycle, sad not because we cannot see it in its fully glory, free of winter’s impassioned hold, but wistful because there is a feeling of abandonment. One certainly would question why the owner would leave such a valued jewel so exposed to the wintery elements. For as many questions that one could pose, we could come up with legitimate answers, that is what is so fascinating about using our imagination when one intently studies a profound image that has a definite mystery element. We all certainly hope for a happy conclusion, and personally I would like to think that not long after this picture was taken, the bicyclist appeared, and was reunited with his prized possession. Many thanks for Thomas giving us such an uplifting print, for all to admire and conjecture on.



Anyela’s Vineyard, Skaneatles Lake
by John Francis McCarthy

Like many of John’s exquisite images, this one truly captures the essence, feeling and majesty of the Finger Lakes. This impressive and artistic print, strikingly expresses the passage of time across the land with serene eloquence. One can listen and hear the unspoken saga of the vineyard, we can listen and tell the story. This is a subject for contemplation and inspiration, a time of awakening and renewal. Here, our eyes can roam and ramble through stately avenues of grapevines, catching every ray of sunlight, which enchantingly charts and paints these tailored structures against the impressive expanse of hillside. You can feel the absolute vitality of these vines, as they individually undertake their sole mission of producing mature fruit of the highest quality, fruit that they hope will eventually produce wine of a superior vintage. One can also sense the legacy of years of cultivation and experimentation, and of the strength and resilience of each vine, as each year past they had to face the fragility of nature’s weather extremes. The dramatic sky over the stilled lake adds a truly powerful element to the overall vista. Not only do the dark clouds make a dramatic photographic statement, they are obviously a vital source of the moisture that is essential for the vineyard's prosperity. One can sense the gratitude of the vines as they await the needed rain, thanks reflected off the tops of the patterned vineyard, by the joyous rays of sunlight bursting through a welcomed gap in the clouds, to elegantly illuminate this lovely pastoral masterpiece. 

Morning Color by John Francis McCarthy

Morning Colors, Skaneateles Lake

by John Francis McCarthy

One of my favorite Taoist statements is, “The bells and stones have voices but, unless they are struck, they will not sound.” John Francis McCarthy has certainly struck in showing us his deep love for the Finger Lakes with his sublime images, which imbue an exalted inspiration, and a restorative feeling that the area is closer to paradise, and the end result is pure music. Certainly he carries with him a sense of wonder that permeates throughout his prints, illustrative of a quotation from Henry Ward Beecher, namely, “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” In “Morning Colors,” there is a sense of overwhelming calm, as we experience a serene, eloquent vista, where beauty is not static, but contingent upon each individual’s unique preferences, feelings and circumstances. From the quietness and magical atmosphere, the viewer’s emotions appeal to, and captivate the subconscious, resulting in the misty morning light, and the sumptuous colors bursting forth to dance together, and where the reflections seem to float in an infinite space. The almost still lake water has just enough ripple movement to form magical patterns and textures, throughout the rich palette of deep, saturated hues, reflected from the dramatic early morning sky. Although we are always in awe of the magnificence of the foreground and sky detail, we are always aware of the imposing shoreline and the small fishing boat. The longer that we contemplate this inspiring image, the greater the detail we see in the houses and trees and the greater the awareness we have of the small boat and the two fishermen. We are forever thankful that the author has captured such a captivating and inspiring image for all of us to enjoy for posterity. If there is a paradise somewhere, I cannot imagine it looking any better than this.

Pollution Palette by Boris Sapozhnikov

Pollution Palette and Close-up
by Boris Sapozhnikov

Boris’s imposing pictures of a sewer cover are imaginatively seen and creatively captured, wonderfully illustrating how even a seemingly mundane object can be the star subject in an impressive photographic print. For the viewer, it is further evidence that we should forget the name of what we are looking at, relax our conditioning and beliefs, and eliminate the cognitive need to categorize or label. Using our imagination, viewing art can set off a chain of inspiration. As Jeff Berner so expressively states, “Looking is a gift, but seeing is power.” Seeing in the finest and deepest sense, means fully using your senses, intellect and emotions, and encountering your subject matter with your whole being. In the original print, we are aware of what looks like oily deposits on a metallic surface, which when mixed with possibly water, results in droplets that have been transformed in spectacular fashion, to give both orderly and variable surface patterns, which have a spectacular range of hue and saturation. The second print is a close-up of a small part of the original image, and by itself, the close-up may give rise to more visual concern and emotional response, if one elects to try and find out what one is really looking at. With both images, one exercise that could be tried is to feel with our eyes, so that we can trigger our brain to engage our sense of touch, so that we can imagine what the tactile qualities of the oily surface may be like. This is like extracting the essence from image elements. In Boris’s prints, there is a great sense of rhythm as we explore the relationship between shapes, colors and values. The more you look, the more you see. Boris should be congratulated on his excellent visual and artistic talents, giving us two creative images that are really impressive and thought-provoking. 

Misty Sunset over Icebergs by Daniel Silver
Misty Sunset over Icebergs

Various Images
by Daniel Silver

Instead of commenting on just one of Daniel’s fine images, I decided to briefly discuss a few of them in order to promote the fact that this 13 year old has a considerable amount of photographic and artistic talent, as impressively displayed in his panel of prints. To mention just a few images that really inspired me, one’s eye would immediately go to the print of the rainbow, powerfully and gracefully arced over the Icelandic Church complex, superbly seen and captured. The arctic icebergs were equally creatively captured under a misty sunset, which in the larger print; take on the suggestive appearance of basking whales coming ashore. Equally compelling are the prints where imaginative composition and subject positioning, truly enhances the images. This is dramatically seen in the view of the pyramids, which is visually enhanced by the foreground positioning of the two camels, and by the photograph of the Great Blue Heron, artfully posed in the extreme left hand side of a large blue negative space of sky, which by the way subtly contains an image of the moon. Furthermore, there is a pensive study of a young girl in Cairo, deeply in thought whilst chickens feed at her feet. It is important to notice the large courtyard space, space for the girl’s thoughts and meditation! Finally, there is the print of “Petra’s Treasury,” beautifully captured through the strongly detailed and well-lit “Canyon.” I truly believe that Daniel has creative talent beyond his years, and I hope that he continues to grow in stature with the experience that he will gain by pursuing artistic and photographic opportunities.

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 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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