Art gifts

Art Center Exhibit Gives Local Photographers a Chance

With a phone in hand, anyone can take a picture.

But there’s something special about hanging that picture up and showing it. It meant a lot to Soldotna photographer Sue Biggs when she first hung her work in the Kenai Art Center’s Small Shots exhibition years ago.

She said she had no idea what she was doing with photography at the time. But she sent two photos.

“One was my cat Leo, sitting in a ray of sunshine,” she said. “And the other was a piece of driftwood.”

They were small images, she said. “But it was huge for me.”

Small Shots returns to the art center in March. The exhibit is open to anyone who has taken one or two photos that they wish to display, as long as those photos are no larger than 70 square inches each.

Biggs, no longer an amateur photographer, is organizing a photography exhibit to accompany the Small Shots exhibit, blending the work of veteran photographers and local photographers into one exhibit.

Alex Rydlinski, the art center’s executive director, said that was the point of the show.

“So someone who is new to photography, maybe he just takes pictures with his phone, can show next to someone like William Heath, who knows what he is doing,” he said. he declares.

The Small Shots concept began in 2004 with Kenai photographer William Heath. The show was a community favorite but went on hiatus until this year.

The center is running an open call for jobs, which means anyone with a camera – or a camera phone – can submit photos.

The center also launched an open call for art last fall.

“There’s always a fear – Is someone going to show up? But when we got the call open in October, it was ridiculous,” Rydlinski said. “We had so much work in there that we spilled into the giveaway gallery.”

Rydlinski, painter and engraver, submits two Polaroids himself. He said he was on the amateur side.

But more experienced photographers are also invited to submit to small shots. Rydlinski said it can be a fun challenge for seasoned photographers to take photos they typically shoot big and scale them down instead.

Biggs has come a long way since she first made Small Shots over a decade ago. His photos have been the subject of several exhibitions and have been published in journals and magazines. She had her first solo exhibition at the Kenai Art Center in 2012.

But all those years ago, when she was just starting out as a photographer, she was really proud to see her work on the wall for the first time.

“My mom was a painter. And I always wanted to be an artist. And for some reason, that wasn’t the direction I took my life in,” she said. “But I always wanted to have something on a wall that people could look at. And to have something presented that way was huge to me.”

Biggs pays homage to the photographers who framed and influenced her in the second part of the March exhibition, with a collection of larger photos she curated from the people who inspired her.

The circle is complete for the photographer.

“It’s just an emerging photography journey,” she said. “Not just for me, but I know these people have inspired and mentored so many people in this community. And it’s so exciting for me to be a mentor now to people in the community.

The Kenai Art Center is collecting photos from tomorrow through Saturday during the gallery opening hours. The show opens March 2 with an opening reception on March 3.

Photos cannot be larger than 70 square inches. The work does not need to be framed. Each photographer may submit up to two photographs.