Feature Articles

February 2014

Caldwell Arts Council in Lenoir, NC, Offers Photographic Exhibit

The Caldwell Arts Council in Lenoir, NC, will present Image-Inations, featuring black & white photography by Bob Phipps, along with photographic selections from the Turchin Center’s collection of Andy Warhol Polaroids and the Hickory Museum of Art’s collection of Dr. Harold Eugene “Doc” Edgerton’s stop-action photography. The exhibit will be on display from Feb. 7 - 28, 2014, and there will be an opening reception Feb. 7, from 5-7pm.

Lenoir photographer Bob Phipps says “As a biologist and photographer, I tend to have a different view of the world. I see many things others miss due to observational training in Biology. Changes in temperature, humidity, clouds, wind, and light all play a role in the appearance of a photograph. Learning to see and think in Black and White was initially a challenge, but soon overcome. Looking for the full range of tones of light in a scene, from bright to shadow to dark, helps determine if the scene before me will make a B/W or just a mediocre shot. Finding the greatest contract and spread of these tones throughout the scene, will keep the eye actively engaged in the photograph.”

“My goal has always been to find and share the beauty of nature,” adds Phipps. “From the large scenic to the microscopic complexity of life, photography allows me to share my concerns for our planet and our future.”

Polaroid photographs by Andy Warhol, (collection on loan from the Turchin Center for Visual Arts at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC) will also be on display.

The Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts is quoted as saying, “While the polaroid portraits reveal Warhol’s profound and frank engagement with the personality in front of his lens, the gelatin silver prints point to his extraordinary compositional skill, his eye for detail, and his compulsive desire to document the world around him. Taken together, these photographs survey the scope of Warhol’s aesthetic interests and demonstrate the reach of his curious, far-roaming eye.”

Photographs by Dr. Harold Eugene “Doc” Edgerton (1903-1990), on loan form the collection of photography displayed courtesy of the Hickory Museum of Art are also on view. We know Edgerton best for his photos of splashing milk drops and speeding bullets or “the man who ‘stopped time.’” He made the invisible visible and became a source of inspiration to engineers, scientists and photographers worldwide.

Edgerton was born in Fremont, NE, and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After graduating, Edgerton married Esther May Garrett in 1928. They had three children: William, Robert, and Mary Louise.

Edgerton began graduate studies at MIT in 1926 and became a professor of electrical engineering at MIT in 1934. In 1966 he was named an Institute Professor, MIT’s highest honor. In addition to using a stroboscope to study high speed mechanical motion, he was inspired to point his stroboscope at everyday phenomena that were too bright or dim or too fast for traditional photography. (A stroboscope is an instrument used to make a fast moving object appear to be slow-moving or stationary.)

A pioneer in strobe photography, Edgerton used this technique to capture images of balloons bursting or the impact of a bullet hitting an apple for example. These photographs were not only beautiful, but astonishing to scientists and popular culture alike because they revealed never-before-seen details of high-speed phenomena.

By the time of his death at 86, Edgerton had developed many practical applications of high-speed and multi-flash photography. He developed night time aerial photography used in WWII and important technology to document nuclear explosions. He also developed sonar and side-scan sonar technology to scan the sea floor for wrecks. With this equipment he helped locate the USS Monitor off Cape Hatteras in 1973. He also worked with Jacques Cousteau for a number of years and developed techniques and equipment for deep sea photography. Cousteau dubbed his friend “Papa Flash.”

He claimed to be a scientist first, but his photographs were so artistically engaging as to become photographic icons in our cultural history.

Ansel Adams (American Photographer, 1902-1984) wrote Edgerton to congratulate him on his retirement from active teaching, “You have shown us new vistas and have revealed new configurations in the infinite matrix of time and space.”

Caldwell Arts Council exhibits are supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Council at 828/754-2486 or visit (www.caldwellarts.com).

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