This is the third Women’s Perspectives exhibit at Image City Photography Gallery. The exhibit includes the following photographers: Kimberly Benedetto, Diane Dersch, Cindy Shadler El-Gaaly, Joyce Freitas, Christy Hibsch, Donna J. LaPlante, Melissa Mance-Coniglio, Margy Meath, Sandi Osterwise, Martha Price and Patty Singer. The original idea for this exhibit began when Margy Meath had a conversation with Image City Partner, Dick Bennett. Margy was aware of the fact that women faced challenges when trying to have their work made public. For example according to some of the data collected by the “Women Photograph Dataabase,” eight of the world’s leading newspapers have actually printed far fewer lead photographs by women than men. (https://www.womenphotograph.com/data)
After Margy and Dick had this conversation, Dick suggested that perhaps Margy might consider organizing an Image City feature show that focused on female photographers. Margy immediately began the process. She intentionally invited women that she knew were comfortable about displaying their work, as well as others who had never entered a show. Margy says, “Working collectively to support one another has been a highlight for this group. It has been especially awesome for me to see talented photographers find their artistic voice and move beyond their apprehension in sharing their work.”
The process is set up so that each woman photographer choses her own images to display—some seek feedback about what to show, others choose on their own, and the group enjoys the “suspense” of seeing each person’s choices. When all of the images are displayed, the viewer appreciates the unique perspective provided by each artist.
Margy’s favorite photo in her display in the show is her Snowy Owl image entitled Reverence. Photographing Snowy Owls is Margy’s winter passion, and thinking/learning about them is a year-long commitment and focus. Margy, who has photographed over 100 of these owls over the past several years, has a deep respect for their well-being.
Margy recalls the day when she took Reverence. At the end of a long day of photographing Snowy Owls in Canada, Margy became aggravated by other photographers who were literally chasing the owls from one location to another. Margy drove to a quiet area and discovered this owl sitting on a frozen post along the side of the road. So as not to disturb the owl, Margy parked her car and for several minutes, it was just she and the Snowy. Margy says it was “a peaceful moment of connection as the day was coming to an end. The experience is seared in my mind’s eye, and I am grateful to have captured this image of a beautiful owl.”
Another photographer in this exhibit is Cindy Shadler El-Gaaly, whose favorite photos in the collection evoke memories of the time and place that each was taken. She says “Sweeny’s Gazebo is special because after posting it on Facebook, she learned so much about the person for whom the gazebo was built. Being there during that spectacular winter sunset took my breath away.”
Kimberly Benedetto says that she tends to “seek out quiet places to find serenity.” She adds that when she is out alone with her camera, she feels a sense of calmness that she can’t otherwise find in the world. Her favorite photo on display is called What’s Up with Ewe? She especially enjoys the expressions on the faces of the curious bunch and says that the photo makes her laugh every time she looks at it.
Another photographer in the show, Christy Hibsch, hopes that when visitors view her images, they will feel a sense of calmness and peace. She says, “There is nothing better than a gorgeous sunrise, a stroll on a foggy fall morning or watching a feather lazily float by.” One of Christy’s favorite images in the show is entitled Morning Breaks over the Farm.
Christy says “Getting this image made me late for work one early morning, when we had a lunar eclipse.” She wanted a barn in the sunrise/eclipse image and the location of these two, among the wheat field, “was the perfect spot.”
Joyce Freitas is a photographer who hopes that when visitors come to Image City, they will pause for a brief moment and put themselves into one of the scenes of her photos and feel the peace or excitement that she conveys in her photos. Joyce is especially fond of her photo Nags Head Pier, which was her first experience with long exposure, using filters.
Melissa Mance-Coniglio says her inspiration for this show is the “wonder of the everyday in Nature.” She says that she came across many of her images by chance and they are “a sliver of connection to the natural world within the hectic chaos of my life.” Melissa decided to include a photo entitled Prairie Warbler, which was created by her 13-year old daughter, Eala Coniglio. Eala enjoys photographing wildlife with Melissa, who hopes that their images will create a connection to their wildlife photographs. Melissa says she hopes “the viewer can spend some time in stillness, looking at and into the world of nature, and find themselves a part of the moment captured and frozen in the photograph.”
Sandi Osterwise, who grew up in Southwest Pennsylvania, enjoys going back to Pennsylvania frequently. Her display includes photos of Fallingwater, a house built by Frank Lloyd Wright, which is a National Historic Landmark in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. It is built partly over a waterfall on Bear Run. Sandi says “My first trip to Fallingwater was a school trip. Now I joke that I’ve been so often, I wouldn’t need training to be a docent.”
Sandi’s favorite photo in her exhibit, Tribute to Children, was taken in Pittsburgh, the city she refers to as her “true love.” Sandi says, “I usually shoot this image across the Allegheny River from Point Park… but when I walked around the back, I knew that was the shot I wanted.”
To see all of the photos in the 2023 Women’s Perspectives Exhibit, stop by Image City Photography Gallery, located at 722 University Avenue in the Neighborhood of the Arts in Rochester, NY.
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