Center for Fine Art Photography creates community involvement with monthly artist talks

The Center for Fine Art Photography held an artist reception and talk Friday night, allowing the public not only to hear the photographers speak and present their artistic processes, but also converse one-on-one afterward. The event occurs monthly and is open and free to the public.

Two separate exhibits had speaking photographers. One was a collaborative photo series and the other an exhibit presenting various photographers’ works. Photographers spoke in the main gallery from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a reception from 7 to 8 p.m.

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In the main gallery, the photo exhibit juried by Karen Marks entitled “Portraits,” showcased portrait-style photographs from a variety of photographers. Including many artistic styles, the exhibit hosted a range of subjects from everyday American people in their element to portraits of classic cars with about as much character as any old timer. Many photographers attended the event and spoke about their work.

One photographer, Nicholas Kozel, had two pairing photographs displayed in the exhibit. The photo entitled “Talis, Missoula” depicts on a man sitting in a litter-filled cracked-windowed vehicle. The photo’s counterpart entitled “Jessie, Missoula” depicts a woman with stains on her white tank top, standing in front of a similarly untidy building. Kozel explained the subjects in his photos are a married homeless couple. The purpose of his photographs, Kozel said, was to communicate a sense of honesty about the people and to create a connection between the subject and the viewer.

In the Gould gallery, photographers Barbara Ciurej’s and Lindsay Lochman’s collaborative photo series “Processed Views: Surveying the Industrial Landscape” were being exhibited. The photographs were vivid and surreal miniature landscapes, created entirely of processed foods. The photo “Marshmallow Chasm” showed a landscape made of marshmallows shaped into a mountainous formation. “Cola Sea” depicted sugary rocks by a Coca Cola sea and “Flamin’ Hot Monolith” reveals a rock formation made of Cheetos and assorted chips. A particularly meaty photo, “Moonrise on Bologna” features a hill made entirely from bologna. Also on display were candy sculptures modeled after igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.

The inspiration behind Curej’s and Lochman’s photo series came from photographs of the American west by Carleton Watkins. Watkins took photographs of the west both to advertise to corporations interested in the resources and to educate easterners on the beauty of the west. The notion of manifest destiny informed his photography, as the landscapes depict the seemingly inexhaustible and boundless West. Curej’s and Lochman’s series recreates these landscape scenes to emphasize the push into the unknown, untamed realm of processed foods. “As we move further away from the sources of our food, we head into uncharted territory replete with unintended consequences for the environment and for out health,” Curej and Lochman explain in their artists’ statement, “we built these to views to examine consumption, progress, and the changing landscape.”

Curej and Lochman gave a presentation about their collaborative work. They began photographing together in the 1980s. They share photographic interest in storytelling, specifically through topics such as the domestic sphere and the role of food. Their collaborative photography draws form history, popular culture and mythology.