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Asbury welcomes acclaimed photographer as part of art series

From staff reports

This month, Asbury University hosted acclaimed photographer Byron Wolfe as part of its ongoing artist series. The artist series at the university welcomes acclaimed artists to campus each year to participate in presentations, showcases, talks and lectures. All events are open to the public and student body. The purpose of these events are to provide enrichment and expose students to new art in interesting ways, according to program organizers.

Wolfe, whose current show is on display in the Johnson Art Gallery until Nov. 30, gave a lecture to an audience of faculty, students and community members in Jameson Recital Hall entitled “Stories in the Landscape: Creative Lessons Learned from Rocks, Trees and Clouds,” which chronicles his work as a photographer and the motivation behind his photos.

The university also purchased a piece from Wolfe entitled, “Rock Formations on the Road to Lee’s Ferry, AZ.”  Art and Design Department Chair and Professor of Photography Keith Barker said that the piece, which was created by Wolfe and fellow artist Mark Klett, is a unique and wonderful addition to Asbury’s collection.

“His arrangement of images taken over 130 years apart, most obviously raises all kinds of questions about the passage of time – but it also touches interestingly on changes in technology, perceptions of the landscape and how motives for depicting the landscape might have changed in the period of time shown among other contrasts,” Barker said. “We are so fortunate to now own such an impressive work.”

Throughout his presentation, he provided four major points for the Asbury community to take into consideration when creating works of art.

“Interesting ideas can come from basic lines of inquiry; discoveries will always happen if you are paying attention. Time is a necessary ingredient to insight, and places are layered with stories as if they are photographs,” Wolfe said.

To tie in these points, Wolfe, who is currently the photography program chair at Temple University, gave examples from his own career. He spoke about his work in creating “third views,” a collection of current and historic photographs taken from the same locations to show the differences in the landscape through the passage of time. Wolfe found many smaller, meaningful stories through his efforts in recreating the images, which he felt applied to the discoveries made when you pay attention.

Looking back on where he began, Wolfe shared with Asbury students that his original drive came from one of his high school teachers.

“[He would] take me around in his truck to chase clouds,” Wolfe said. “It was that poetic sensitivity to photograph clouds that inspired me.”