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Partners' Picks of the Show

Black & White Invitational

Gallery Partners have chosen their "Picks of the Show"

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All images copyright by the individual photographers

Partners' Picks of Featured and Guest Photographers
Jerusalem by Bruce Bennett

Jerusalem (ISR 1995 # 112)
by Bruce Bennett

Bruce’s goal for his photography is to “. . . communicate, as clearly as possible the lives and circumstances of his subjects.” His eleven photos in this exhibit plainly achieve that target. He includes all sorts of people, young and old, praying, armed soldiers in the street with civilians, a father reading to his child and a market scene. Three people standing together in what appears to be a market, caught my attention. Three is such a wonderful, one might say a perfect number. Possibly a family, the three are framed by their surrounding; the market wagon to the left of the photo, the empty space to the right and the shaft of light from behind. Often, we wish to crop our photos to what may be the subject of our image. However, Bruce decided to leave the empty space to the right, thus creating a more powerful effect of the light shaft through the vaulted ceiling which acts as a line to draw our eyes back to the family. Whether the family owns the cart of they just happened to stop at this spot is unclear; the girl looks curiously at the camera, the woman at the various bird cages on the cart and the man into the distance. Perhaps he is considering walking further into the area under the vaulted ceiling where there seems to be more activity. The light on the people is muted adding to the mystery. Bruce gives us much to consider about the people and this place in Jerusalem in this well composed and lighted image.

Dunes by Michael Gow

Nambia, Africa, 2015
by Michael Gow

When you remove the color from a photo, magic can happen. A cool composition becomes more bold, more dramatic. Images gain a timelessness that allows our viewers to focus on messages that transcends the here and now.  Michael’s Dunes does exactly that.  If not for the title, I’d think I was looking at an iceberg with snow lightly blown across the tops of enormous blocks of ice whose front surfaces were etched when they were forced out of the frozen water. I expect to see some sort of human existence in the scrapple of the foreground.  

Rather, this is the windswept desert dunes of Nambia. Dry and hot. Just as foreboding as an iceberg and exactly the opposite.  This photograph contains all the advanced B&W techniques; great contrast, a wide range of tonality, deep shadows, sensuous shapes, and remarkable textures.

Path to the Sea by Tom Kredo

Path to the Sea
by Tom Kredo

It’s no surprise to find another beautiful set of Black and White photographs from Tom, and it’s difficult to pick only one.  But this image is particularly striking, inviting us into an exploration.

The immediacy of the stairs and railing at the bottom of the photograph begins a visual journey down this long staircase winding down, down, down.   Then the sands appear – sands that could on first glance to be either water or the sky.   But as our view continues to the top of the photograph, there is the sea with the waves flowing in.  That sense of looking down is amplified by the fact there is no visible horizon and offers a perspective we seldom experience in a landscape photograph.

The image carries a wide range of textures both at fine level within the many structural elements of the image and also at a macro level among those very same elements.  The surf rolling in, the smooth sand beach, the rocky edge of that sand, and then the rough corridor on either side of the stairs extending from the viewer’s location to the shore below.   Each element has a shape and they fit together bounded by a beautiful network of curves.

All these elements, and the photograph that can offer something new each time we look at it is a special gift, and this one is such a gift.

Night's End by Pat Luke


Night's End
by Patrick Luke

Pat Luke is a past president of the Professional Photographers Society of New York State (PPSNYS). Locally, Pat is known as the “McGiver of lighting” as he often creates his own photographic tools.  He specializes in student senior and sports photos, product photography and portraits. As this photo, “Night's End” illustrates, Pat is an excellent photographer, period! Black and white photography is about shape, form, line, texture, and tonality. This image has all those qualities and it’s as crisp and tight as that little black dress! 

It takes a master photographer to know when to break “rules.” There is a “rule” that you should leave space in front of moving subjects. Pat didn’t do that, but by this positioning he lends truth to the title that this is about nights end, as most of it is being left behind.  There is a “rule” about truncating heads and feet, but here the head and feet would disrupt the “curve” that makes this image so strong. The position of the model was carefully determined by the photographer to create the same curve we would expect a landscape photographer to make. The dangling shoes help to fill the frame and to indicate where this person come from and perhaps wants to return. Finally, the soft white background is not just negative space. You can barely see the soft door and window in the background. Again, a reference to the place this person may have been.

All of Pat’s photographs in this collection are “clean” and “sharp.” No mistakes. This one, in my opinion is the best of the bunch.

Town of Paxson by Peter J. Sucy

Town of Paxson
by Peter J. Sucy 

Peter J. Sucy has chosen to depict the Alaskan wilderness in an array of stunning panoramic images. The sunlight playing on the majestic mountain range and glacier formations drew me into the Town of Paxson image. This image, with the sweeping horizontal, contrasting lines of lights and darks, showcases the immenseness of the Alaskan landscape. Peter’s technical and presentation skills are outstanding. The clarity and depth of field in the image illustrates the incredible distance that exists between the mountain ranges and the town of Paxson.

Interwoven horizontal and curving lines add to the dimensionality and poetry of this vast rugged wilderness. The black and white image format draws out the shapes and texture of the overall landscape. The range of dark to light tones lends a sense of mystery to this work. As we move from the snow-covered mountain range and glacier to the undulating curves of the foreboding land down into the foreground of the image, we can see the village of Paxson. This remote village is surrounded by mountains and table-lands that have evolved over time.

Peter has given us the tool to formulate a story about this awe-inspiring yet formidable and intimidating region. Alaskan natives refer to Alaska as ‘Alyeska’, meaning “the great land.” Peter's landscapes capture the breadth and depth of the remoteness of this great land. 


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