Vernon Community Arts Center presents Juried Photography Exhibit

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Vernon - posted Wed., Jan. 29, 2014
First-place winner Amber Dietz and third-place winner Tom Fearney accepted their awards from juror Peter Glass (center) at the second annual Juried Photography Exhibit at the Vernon Community Arts Center. Photos by Annie Gentile.
First-place winner Amber Dietz and third-place winner Tom Fearney accepted their awards from juror Peter Glass (center) at the second annual Juried Photography Exhibit at the Vernon Community Arts Center. Photos by Annie Gentile.

Photography has evolved dramatically over the last 200 years, and those technological advances are clearly reflected in the approximately 75 entries on display at the Vernon Community Arts Center’s second annual Juried Photography Exhibit. The opening reception held Sunday, Jan. 26, featured the work of 53 photographers, who exhibited color and black and white photographs, digital prints, metal prints, inkjet prints and more. The show will be on display at the Arts Center through Feb. 22.

“There’s some stuff that’s very, very good, but we’ve seen it before,” said Peter Glass, one of two professional photographers who served as jurors for the show. “We look for something different, something unique,” he said.

Glass owns Peter Glass Photography in East Hartford and specializes in portrait, editorial, corporate and stock photography. Bruce Dunbar, the second juror, has exhibited his work widely. He teaches photography at both the Silvermine School of Art and at Western Connecticut State University.

Glass said there were about 200 entries, and from that, they culled the entries down to about 75 for the exhibit. He said in choosing the first-, second- and third-place awards, as well as honorable mentions in this show and others, he looks for a few different things. The first is technical perfection and the second is the uniqueness of the entry. The last thing was perhaps a bit difficult to describe. “The whole is more than the sum of the parts. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “I am looking for something that clicks with me.”

What “clicked” best with Glass and Dunbar, taking the first-place award, was photographer Amber Dietz’ entry, entitled “Losing the Girl.” Her small, wet plate “tintype” photograph was entered as the second photo in a two-part entry, which depicted first a miserably unhappy-looking young man. Beside him, one sees only the shoulder of a woman he stands beside, an awkward negative space between them. He is looking away from her. In the companion photo, Dietz said she photographed the two together, with each looking away from the other, each equally unhappy.

The process by which Dietz produced her entry was certainly unique. Wet plate tintype photography, a time-consuming method involving the use of a darkroom and caustic chemicals such as silver nitrate, was highly popular in the 1860s and 1870s, but has long ago been replaced by safer and simpler technological advances.

“It is a long process, but I love it,” said Dietz, who teaches photography at Killingworth High School in Higganum. “I love working in the darkroom and with my hands, and digital photography has taken that away from me. Now I get that back,” she said.

Tania Palermo took the second-place award, courtesy of Webster Bank, for her two entries, the first a digital photograph entitled “The Soul of the Road,” and the second, for the photograph “Untitled.”

The third-place award, a Photosynthesis Gift Certificate, was presented to Tom Fearney for his digital print, “Old Mill Dock.” Honorable mentions were also presented to Michael Simonds, Susan Thibodeau and Judy Grabowicz. The opening reception also featured music by Rosemary Toth and Mark Cadman.

Located at 709 Hartford Turnpike (Route 30), the Vernon Community Arts Center is a unique facility that features areas for display of art and performances, as well as two downstairs classrooms. The Arts Center receives no town funding.

“We try to get a range of programs, some community-based, some cutting edge,” said Director Joan Sonnanburg. “We’d like to see this become more of a regional art center that serves all of the communities east of the river, and we welcome everyone to come to exhibit their work, to come to our events, and to attend our classes,” she said.

For information on upcoming exhibits, events, performances and classes, visit or call 860-871-8222.

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