Reviewed: The International Photography Competition at Fraser Gallery
Is it possible that some of the more impressive photography in Washington right now has been produced by near-amateurs? Judging by the nearly three dozen juried works in the 9th annual International Photography Competition at Bethesda’s Fraser Gallery—drawn from a pool of more than 500 entries submitted by 151 locals and out-of-towners—that may be the case.
True, the works are more likely to pay homage than offer an entirely new perspective—Walter Hobbs’ foggy urban nocturne echoes (right) the cityscapes of Alfred Stieglitz, for instance, while George Borden’s nighttime image of D.C.’s Key Bridge is a dead ringer for a Michael Kenna, and Sharon Dowis’ image of tire tracks in the snow recalls those Andr
A few of the works deserve special note: Edward Hahn’s small dock floating unassumingly in tranquil waters; David Quinn’s dreamily blurred seascape in late afternoon; and Allen Russ’ centrifugal symphony of blues at a Scottish pond.
Several artists used digital manipulation to worthwhile effect. Deb Casso layers a ghostly forest on top of—or is it behind?—a lone tree in a field, while Walter Plotnick creates a motion-filled photo-montage of circus performers, and Virginia Saunders presents a supernatural tableau of an old man sitting on what appears to be a crumbling Venetian street.
Others play it straight. David Orbock uses a 360-degree revolving camera to produce a dignified portrait of the Lincoln Memorial; Michael Palmer produces an moody image of the towering National Cathedral under a threatening sky; and Michael McCullough offers a succinct meditation on death through an artful array of discarded locust exoskeletons.
The exhibit’s landscape images are among its strongest: Kent Mercurio’s tiny, isolated, leafy island under a silky sky (above); Lee Goodwin’s finely detailed photograph of a wooded shoreline; and Minny Lee’s ominous sky-and-branches image, with the indistinct detailing one might find in an early 20th century gum-bichromate print.
Many of the works not listed here are nonetheless worth a look; most of the images (though not all) can be viewed online at Fraser’s site.
THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW 11:30 A.M. TO 6 P.M TUESDAY TO SATURDAY TO APRIL 3 AT FRASER GALLERY, 7700 WISCONSIN AVE. SUITE E, BETHESDA. FREE. (301) 718-9651.