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Peter Marr's and Partner Picks of the Show

The American Southwest
January 27 - February 22, 2015

 Peter Marr and Gallery Partners have made selections of their favorites
from the Featured and Guest Photographers in the exhibit.

click here to return to the details of the exhibit 

All images copyright by the individual photographers

Peter's Picks

Desolation by Steve Levinson

by Steve Levinson

Steve’s inspiring images of expressive details from some of Yellowstone’s beautiful and intricate designs are superb and breathtaking. With a true artist’s eye, he has isolated and captured spectacular formations that are rich in both detail and an impressive range of saturated colors and imaginative shapes and patterns. I would love to comment further on each of these lovely prints, but I chose Desolate instead, because it is equally enthralling as the others, with the added interest that it has a story to tell on a larger stage. Certainly, nature is for reverence, and this image has both a magical and mysterious presence, as though time has stopped, and this is how we would like to experience the scene forever. Beauty, life and death are all expressed eloquently and poignantly. The vertical format is a visionary touch, and in the print, the viewer is aware of a dramatic backdrop of an impressive mountain panorama, visible under majestic, dark cloud formations. Under this canopy, there is a delicate strata of sugar-coated balconies and fluted terraces of travertine rock, that stretches out sublimely over the landscape. As this sea of limestone formations moves towards the foreground, the observed pastel color hues slowly change to browns and grays, whilst the myriad of cracks, fissures and formations become outlined with geyserite. The resulting surface pattern structures are evidence that the living organisms, algae and bacteria have been killed off, leaving intricate eco-skeletons, which are devoid of the lovely colors of the primary terraces. Further evidence of nature’s ever-present destructive forces, is seen in the powerful presence of a lone tree, which although not very large in size, it seems to tower over the whole landscape. Long ago, it was probably an elegant juniper tree, but the water and prolonged acid burn slowly killed it off. Although its foliage is no longer present its elegant multi-trunked shape proudly remains. This is no historical skeleton, for this tree is the epitome of grace and beauty, and its trunks and branches imposingly display an artistic icon for everyone to admire, in realization that life and death are inexorably linked in this vast area renowned for its volcanic and hydrothermal features.

 Peter A. Marr


Horseshoe Bend by Frank Liberti

Horseshoe Bend
by Frank Liberti

 In this outstanding exhibition, The American Southwest, it is so gratifying and exciting to have a superb panel of B/W prints. Ansel himself would have been delighted to have had the chance to view these outstanding images, which were not just captured by Frank, but they were interpreted to create works of art. I was particularly impressed with Horseshoe Bend, certainly one of Arizona’s scenic highlights that the author has creatively recorded, resulting in a breathtaking panorama of unsurpassed radiance and majesty. Technically, this print is masterful. The incredible depth of field reveals both sharpness and superb highlight and shadow detail, along with excellent definition and outstanding contrast qualities. There is also an extensive tonal range of grays from the very lightest to the darkest zones, supporting whites and blacks that still contain some subject detail. The overall landscape is spectacular, and it leaves the viewer in awe and wonderment as to how nature has carved out this scenic jewel, and in equal amazement as to how the artist captured the scene so amazingly and with such eloquence and skill. Frank is to be further congratulated for choosing an inspired camera position, where the compelling foreground anchors and directs the leading lines that take the observer’s eyes around the canyon walls in a deliberate circular motion. This allows time to admire the intricate details and formation of the sedimentary rock cliffs, before traversing around the peaceful and serene oxbow lake, whilst admiring the intricacies of the massive center rock structure. Furthermore, the artist has positioned the camera so that the central rock feature is off center, so that one can easily go to the top to view the impressive panorama beyond, the whole landscape being held in under a captivating thin layer formation of dark clouds at the very top. Many congratulations for a terrific image, wonderfully seen, photographed and presented.

Peter A. Marr
Peppermint Rock by Gary Thompson 

Peppermint Rock
by Gary Thompson

 Gary has imaginatively and artistically captured an impressive image of a well-known rock formation, resulting in a print that has both power and majesty as well as a delicacy and beauty that is breathtaking. By choosing an inspired camera position, even in fading light, the author has created an outstanding picture that fully displays the grandeur and nobility of nature’s design. The lovely warm color palette is highlighted by the sumptuous swathes of reddish-brown ochres, which are separated by bands of lighter sandstone hues, creating a memorable pattern that boldly reflects the rock’s assigned name. Following these colorful swirls the viewer is transported gracefully to the large nose-like peak, which strikingly looks out onto the impressive landscape beyond. In the distance, there is a series of large sandstone formations, beautifully situated under a pale blue sky that encloses a few indistinctive clouds.

 In between, the massive Peppermint Rock dominates an arid desert-like valley floor, replete with hardy shrub-like bushes which add a welcomed splash of green color to the overall scene. The more that I admire this uplifting image, the more that I am aware that this was once part of land that was the domain of Native Americans,  land that was put there by the Great Spirit, and that it will last forever as long as there is sun and water to nurture both men and animals. With this thought in mind I truly believe that there is a sacredness here that the land is alive, and that these people are forever with the land that is so precious to them. That is why I envisage in this print a Native American woman, towering over the landscape, her brightly colored shawl effortlessly spread out, in order to shelter and protect the cherished land beneath from the ravages of time. It is also pertinent to mention that the viewer is only seeing this landscape as a momentary glimpse in the long stretch of geological time, but what a scene it is, and how fortunate we are to have Gary capture this exquisite image for every observer to admire and marvel at.

Peter A. Marr 
Road to the Mittens by Phyllis Thompson 

Road to the Mittens
by Phyllis Thompson

 This popular scenic attraction has been inspiringly captured by the artist, resulting in a visionary panoramic print of unsurpassed wonderment. In order to achieve this outstanding result, there must have been extensive communications between self and the environment in order to see the subject matter in a special way as transcending the ordinary. This is a lyrical landscape where the author is fully at one with nature. With careful planning, Phyllis carefully positioned the camera extremely close to the massive rock in the left foreground in order to get a remarkable and unrivalled image of both the foreground and the vast valley beyond. The extensive depth of field used reveals striations and curved lines in the large sandstone rock in intimate detail, as well as revealing textures that play off against one another for a compelling visual treat. What is so magical is that the viewer can easily follow these leading lines and crevices all the way to, and along the unpaved curving road right across the valley floor to the picturesque formations in the distance.  

This whole area is sacred to the Navaho Indians, and is known by them as The Land of Standing Rocks, a land to be protected forever, and one that certainly has a fascination and beauty that is awe-inspiring. The ambient illumination is resplendent, creating a wide splash of warm, saturated colors on the rocks and valley floor, all the way to the pastel hues of the light blue sky and fleeting cloud formations. The lovely lighting reveals all of the detail and textures of the foreground sandstone rock, even highlighting the effects of wind erosion on the exposed surface. An important element in this image is the vertical rock on the right-hand side, which is in complete shade and not only frames the picture to perfection; its shape mirrors that of the two prominent formations in the valley. Finally, with so many leading lines to the twin towers, it is interesting that the dotted formations of small shrubs also follow the contours of the winding road, creating an amazing unified vista that is visionary, powerful and truly inspiring.

 Peter A. Marr


Three Sisters by Michelle Turner Three Sisters by Michelle Turner

Three Sisters #1 and #2
by Michelle Turner

 I grouped these two dynamic images together to comment further on, because they have such high visual impact, and they illustrate a revered historic and important way of life in “The American Southwest,” one that sadly may die out in the face of advanced technology. In both prints, the “Three Sisters” occupy an important place in the dramatic landscape in the background, powerful structures beautifully photographed against impressive cloud formations. Although the backdrops in both prints are captivating and superbly set the location and habitat, it is the foregrounds in both images that demands most of our attention, and I will devote most of this revue to these inspiring elements. In print #2 the two horses, probably after a long, hard days work share a precious moment of warmth and affection, probably oblivious to the three monarchs in the background or to the ranch structure that separates them. This is a heartfelt and poignant greeting, and just maybe, the left ear of the speckled white horse is uplifted vertically to salute the edifices beyond. It is important to note that the two dominant foreground horses exhibit soft curves and gentle lines in comparison to the three vertical background rocks. In print #1, the viewer is treated to a creative and remarkable print that has been beautifully seen, composed and taken by Michelle. Once again there is an entrancing relationship between a series of two similar elements in the foreground with the “Three Sisters.” The magnificent leather saddle with all of its essential components has been beautifully displayed across the top rail of a fence, the rail and the one below it being set on the diagonal, which adds a powerful and dynamic feature in the frame. Everything about the saddle speaks of hard work and countless hours on the backs of the horses seen in the second print, but they also strongly relate to a consummate love of the land, the type of labor involved, and above all, a dedicated pride for the cowboy who has the honor to own and use this impressive saddle. Both of these prints speak volumes about the way of life and the history that ranching has given to this area, made all the more significant by the impressive natural background. These are exquisite images that tell an important story, one that we hope will live on for many generations into the future.

Peter A. Marr    


Peter MarrWe 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.
Partner Picks
Sunset Thunderstorm by Carl Crumley 

Sunset Thunderstorm
by Carl Crumley


Carl Crumley's superb photograph titled "Sunset Thunderstorm" is the result of a combination of good planning, patience, and perseverance.  It is very difficult to capture lightning in landscape photography. Carl skillfully was able to combine three interesting components into one beautiful photograph. The three essentials within this image are the lightning bolts, the warm front lighting on the upper walls of the canyon, and the subtle pink of the background clouds.  He has used excellent compositional balance to aesthetically unite these three features. The triangular pattern of the three points of interest is very pleasant to view.

To capture lightning images in landscapes the photographer needs to determine the area that has the highest frequency of lightning and then position his/her tripod to include this lightning area in an interesting position within the scene to be photographed. By studying the frequency of the lightning the photographer can then take educated guesses of where and when the lightning will occur. The photographer then needs to use appropriately long exposures (perhaps 8-20 seconds). Carl probably took many of these time exposures in order to achieve this perfectly timed image. He is to be congratulated on skillfully capturing this very difficult but, oh so beautiful photographic print.

It is easy for a viewer to think that this is a Grand Canyon image. It was, however, actually taken from one of the rims in Canyonlands National Park.

Tumbleweed in Bloom by Larry Eldridge 

Tumbleweed in Bloom
by Larry Eldridge

What a beautiful surprise! Larry has captured a very different view of a plant that we often imagine dried up and rolling across the plains, pushed by an unforgiving wind.    

He has brought us very close to this desert pla nt, giving us a look at a tiny part of one small branch.   Only by being this “close” can we see and appreciate these gentle blossoms. Only here do we see the menacing presence of the needle-like leaves that seem determined to protect these blooms. Larry has chosen a particular angle showing one blossom in full sun and a second, half in and half out of the sun’s direct rays.    Because of the clarity of the image, we can see the intricate branching structure of the almost transparent petals. The tight focus on the plant itself has left the background without any structure, leaving only the color to remind us of a desert-like environment. The image gives the impression that we are “in the presence” of these desert beauties.

Larry has created a beautiful image, artistically captured and presented. More than that, he has offered us an intimate view of one of the many small treasures that is often lost “blowin’ in the wind.”

Cobbs Hill #4 by Gil Maker 

Cobb’s Hill #4
by Gil Maker

 Gil Maker has produced an excellent portfolio of the wooded areas of Cobb’s Hill Park. While several of his photographs are worthy of receiving a Gallery Pick, we have selected Gil’s print, titled “Cobb’s Hill #4” for this coveted award.

Gil has found several artistically pleasant patterns within the entropy of the natural areas of Cobb’s Hill. In his image titled “Cobb’s Hill #4” he has   recognized and then isolated a vertical stand of trees to photograph. His use of the vertical format enhances the strong vertical lines of the trunks of the trees. The exposure for making the image, combined with Gil’s quality printing, showcases the intricate detail of the featured trees. The brightness of these prominent trees enables them to move forward and separate nicely from the darker vegetation of the middle ground. This creates a three dimensional feeling and the sensation of depth for the viewer.

Gil, by full framing the print with interesting subject matter, skillfully covers what appears to be a mundane sky. The most prominent and perhaps most interesting tree is aesthetically placed off center. Gil’s image is an excellent example of an “intimate landscape” and is a tribute to his ability to recognize, simplify and photograph the essence of a complicated scene.


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