Fresh talent brings arresting images to Photography Regional

The Photography Regional is back at Albany Center Gallery, its second visit there since it moved fro

Her name is Katie. A bandana hides her hair, her shirt is rough leather. But she looks like Nefertiti, ancient Egypt’s beautiful queen with the proud profile and cone-shaped crown.

“Katie the Welder,” a black-and-white photograph by Anthony Salamone, is cleverly hung close to the door of Albany Center Gallery, as the visitor is yanked inside by this portrait of a beguiling young woman who wears eye makeup along with her metal work helmet and a scarf that pokes out like a Dutch girl’s cap.

Katie shares the gallery entrance with Deb Baldwin’s weird and arresting “Brian,” a big black-and-white photo in which a man’s sad face is trapped in a box.

The Photography Regional is back at Albany Center Gallery, its second visit there since it moved from a room at the Albany Public Library to more elegant digs on Columbia Street.

33rd Annual Photography Regional

WHERE: Albany Center Gallery, 39 Columbia St., Albany

WHEN: Through Saturday, July 16. Gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday



It’s a straightforward show, with few digital experiments. Even though the exhibit is more than 30 years old, there are many new names, so it could be a fresh look at our region’s photography talent. (Where they come from is unknown, as labels do not indicate hometowns.)

“New artists and new photographers are coming into it,” says Creative Director Tony Iadicicco.

Albany Center Gallery had a big staff change early this year. After four years on the job, Executive Director Sarah Martinez departed and, after a search, was replaced by Iadicicco and Operations Director Kris Sigsby.

Photography Regional awards

Three photographers shared the first place award:

Deb Baldwin, for “Bryan”; Heidi Ricks, “Mixed Emotions (after the Festival)”; and Jeff Altman, “Crime Scene.”

Five photographers received honorable mentions:

Mark McCarty for “MK#0570”; Deb Hall, “Artifacts”; Sébastien Barré, “Poolside”; Jonathan Villegas, “Light Painting March 2011”; and Bennett Campbell, “Eagle & Lancaster, Albany NY.”

The Photo Regional survived, but it moved from late April to early June, and entry deadlines changed.

For a while, there were plans for an exhibit that was both juried and invitational, with a six-person panel of jurors and curators.

With the clock ticking and funding issues, the Photo Regional returned to its traditional open juried format, and the works in the final show we see today were selected by Ian Berry, deputy of curatorial affairs at the Tang Teaching Museum and Gallery, and Melissa Stafford, an indepedent curator most recently with Carrie Haddad Photographs.

Submissions remained strong, however, with 100 photographers sending nearly 500 images, an encouraging trend, as those numbers are similar to 2007, 2008 and 2010.

But this year’s exhibit, with 35 images by 30 photographers, is the smallest juried Photo Regional in recent years. In 2008, when it was last hosted by Albany Center Gallery in this same space, there were 67 images by 32 photographers.

Many talents that you expect to see are missing. But a few of them are here, like Mark McCarty, Chris DeMarco, Jenny McShan and Linda Morrell.

McCarty’s large color photo, reportedly taken with a cellphone, is a shot of a woman in the shower, her back to the viewer. Wet, blond hair is plastered on her neck, her ears protrude, her head is tilted; and the scene is nicely framed by the shower curtain.

“Threshold” by Morrell is a mesmerizing abstract image of what appear to be ocean waves, frothy and frosted.

Sébastian Barré, a native of France who moved to Albany for a biomedical engineering job, loves to explore abandoned human habitats. His color image “Poolside” is curiously lush and strange, as ferns and moss inundate an abandoned natatorium at Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel, where coral-colored lawn chairs still perch near a waterless, debris-filled pool.

Jeffrey Altman won a first-place award for “Crime Scene,” a deftly composed collage of objects that is sinister and mysterious: yellow hose, pale arm of a child, blue tarp and old chair.

Deb Hall, a Skidmore College professor who uses drawing and typography in her work, has two works in the show, and they are both impressive in their digital manipulations.

In “Bighorn Canyon Recreational Area,” a map of a Wyoming wilderness region is placed upon the tilted image of high-rise glass and steel buildings, and the long, irregular shape of the wild area appears tiny and insignificant against the man-made monstrosities. Snow-covered craggy mountains, pale green water and pines are the landscape for Hall’s “Artifacts,” in which part of the scene is fractured or pixilated into little squares, like it’s falling apart.

The jurors selected photos by Ray Henrikson and Angelo Dounoucos.

Henrikson’s black-and-white image, “The Rowers,” is timeless, as athletes toiling together in their scull form a horizontal line that separates water, sky and mountains. Henrikson, who is retired from the faculty of Albany Medical College, is director-at-large of the Schenectady Photographic Society.

In Dounoucos’ “Stripes,” a young African-American man carries a bench over his head, and the light spilling through it forms striped patterns of shadows on his bald head, shirt and muscular arms.

Two choices

A final note about this Photo Regional. Because the show opened more than a month later than it usually does, it will hang around through Saturday, July 16. The Mohawk-Hudson Regional Exhibition opens Saturday, July 9, at the Albany Institute of History & Art.

So, for eight days, you can actually see both Regionals on the same day, perhaps even walking from one to the another.

In 33 years, that’s probably never happened before.

Categories: Life and Arts

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