Photographers point lenses locally and globally

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By Laura Herrington Watson

Littleton’s annual Eye of the Camera contest drew photos from as near as Ketring Lake and as far as Azerbaijan.

An exhibit at the Littleton Museum showcasing photos from the contest opened last Thursday night with a reception. Littleton artist Andy Marquez, who juried this year’s contest, held an unofficial ceremony and discussed the pieces that won. Marquez last juried the show eight years ago.
“Everything in here is good,” Marquez said. “This is the best show we have ever had here.”  
Marquez is a successful local photographer who has also received international acclaim. Marquez had an art gallery in Littleton from 1992 to 2012, then moved his gallery to downtown Denver in January.
Many in attendance had their photographs on display or were part of a local camera group, such as Focus Camera Club.
Winning photographs from local artists included shots from Antarctica, the Middle East, Florida, and some places closer to home, like the Denver Botanic Gardens.
Karen Kirkpatrick won best of show — black and white with “Organized Leisure” a photo of a nearly vacant swimming pool taken early one morning when she leaned out her hotel balcony while on a trip to Florida. The frame is empty, except for a long line of chairs and a man in a wheelchair.
“What I consider important is that the man (in the wheelchair) is not even looking at me or even sitting in one of the chairs. He seems disinterested,” said Kirkpatrick, who worked as a graphic designer. “It has strong lines and shapes. The larger I made it, the more I loved it. I don’t get that lucky all the time. But that’s photography.”
Marquez returned to Kirkpatrick’s photograph at least three times with a microphone in hand at to discuss its merit with the guests at the event.
Eric Jones shot his photograph, “Man from the Caucasus Mountains,” while trekking through Azerbaijan as a cultural photographer and videographer. Jones won second place — color for his photograph of a Muslim man from the village of Khinalug.
“I was going through the village, and I was watching two men play a game of backgammon. I asked the men if I could take their pictures. They were both happy for me to do so, and this picture is the result of one of these.” Jones said he carries a portable printer so he can always produce prints on the spot and “give back to the people.”
Jones said a mere 1,500 people speak the Khinalug language, and mostly in the village of Khinalug high in the Caucasus mountains, where he took this photograph.
Joe Bonita won first place — black and white with a photograph he took in Antarctica in January. Bonita said the piece, titled “Backlit Antartctica,” was “originally in color, but there wasn’t a lot of color in it.” By stripping it of color, he was able to make the photo even starker, Bonita said.
Bonita admits, “It was just a crapshoot out of a window” of the zodiac watercraft in which he toured the southerly continent.
Fee Chin won best of show — color with “Summer Garden,” a photograph taken at the Denver Botanic Gardens; Bob Maynard won first place — color with “Red Tail Hawk”; and Ron Dahl won second place — black and white with “The Ungodly.”
The winning photographs were not the only noticeable photographs in the gallery.
Alexis Gorry, a Friend of the Littleton Museum, said all the photos in the gallery were worthy.
“They’re all worthy of being on display,” Gorry said.
He especially liked Stephen Johnson’s “Ketring Lake Sunset,” which did not win any awards. “I think I’m going to buy it. Anyone who has a dog (in Littleton” has walked around that lake.”
The photography exhibit will be on display at the free museum until Sunday, April 1, during regular museum hours. Most photographs in the gallery are available for private purchase.