Arts Desk

The Dos and Don’ts of Mural Photos: “Beauty” at Leica Store DC

Leica juriedThere’s no need to feel sorry for the judges of Leica Store DC’s new juried photography contest. You can agree or disagree with their choice for the winning image—Kenneth Reitz’s photograph of a man corralling four large soap bubbles on a downtown sidewalk—but they at least had a wide selection of plausible contenders.

Paul Sharratt finds a charming, and presumably fleeting, moment of romance in the Metro: a well-dressed couple dancing on the platform. Miecyslaw Alland offers a nicely layered image of a woman seen through a reflective bus window, rendered in soft, pastel hues, while Steven Poster, an honorable mention winner, produces an image of camera-wielding tourists whose dramatic graininess lends it unexpected gravity.

Several photographers experiment smartly with ways to capture the sky. Gerda DeCorte offers a wide-angle, distant landscape of floating hot-air balloons in hazy greenish-gray tones. Hodo Lee’s sky is a deep blue nocturne, while Chris Williams’ is a gradation of gray transsected by a pair of razor-like power-line wires.

Attempts to photograph murals produce a pair of images with divergent success. On the one hand, Marios Savva gets points for cheekiness in his image that adds a blonde pedestrian to the end of the familiar Darwinian procession of monkey to man, but in the end the tableau feels like an over-engineered joke.

By contrast, Vince Lupo leverages a mural of galloping horses on a tumbledown wall into an affirmation of the power of photography to transform: Set amid an otherwise nondescript, scrubby landscape, the image makes surging hoofbeats ever-so-fleetingly real.

At the Leica Store Washington, D.C., 977 F Street NW. (202) 787-5900

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