Photos present 'wide angle' view
Posted Nov. 10, 2006

Just as the sun begins to settle into the horizon, the sound of a jazz band performing can be heard faintly in the distance.

The band is only the precursor to the main attraction that is the new exhibit, “Wide Angle: Recent Photography Acquisitions,” at the Pomona College Museum of Art.

On Sunday at 5 p.m; the exhibit opened to offer several different, equally impressive, forms of photography.

More than 300 photographs have been donated to the Pomona College in the past two years and the exhibit showcases a few of the most recent and unique donations.

In the exhibit there were pieces dating back to the invention of photography in the 19th century that contrasted with more recent photos acquired since 2004.

As spectators made their way around the exhibit and tried to show that they understood every element of the art that they were staring at, there were a few that seemed to give away their innocence with worried glances in all directions.

One of the pieces that caused the most awkward stares and nervousness for the novice art viewer was the photograph that opened the show.

From the “Fictional Store Fronts” series by Joel-Peter Witkin, the photo “Camera Store Window” probably attracted the most attention.

“I really like this photo,” Kathleen Howe, the “Wide Angle” exhibit curator, said. “It refers to photography and all the different aspects that photography entails.”

The photo that was created in 2004 was a compilation of several different images that you might find in a camera store window.

It was comprised of a masked naked woman lying on a small bed draped with fabric, while under her, several cameras were laid out for display next to a blurred soldier.

The combination of the different elements used in photography made the picture the highlight of the evening.

Everyone who walked down the stairs to the exhibit could not help but stop and examine the picture.

According to the picture description, photography is about the pleasure of looking and letting the eyes linger on the scene and that is exactly what the photos at the exhibit created.

“This is my first time out to an opening, but it has been really interesting,” said Alex Ho, a Glendora resident. “Some of these photos are really old and then there are a few that are less than 10 years old. It’s nice to see such a wide range.”

Some older pictures were a set of three silver gelatin prints from 1953 by Robert Stivers.

The photographs manipulated shadows in order to create faint ghost-like images that stood out among the other seemingly ordinary photographs.

As several students and local residents wandered around the large white room, the exhibit was almost silent with the only sound coming from the slow steps of the mingling visitors.

Among the constant flow of about 40 in and out of the museum, there were a few laughs and even a critique or two but, for the most part, the show was quiet, each individual trying to examine each and every piece with a trained eye that would reveal the photographer’s hidden meaning.

“The openings are really nice for the artsy, fartsy, young people who need more than beer and clubs,” said Katherine Culliver, a Walnut resident. “These events are for the ones who want a little culture in their lives.”

This exhibit runs through Dec. 17. Howe said the museum intends on having more exhibits to showcase the many other photos that it has acquired over the years.

“I want to do a show where we display photography with paintings and prints, in order to show how they compliment each other,” Howe said.

Considering that the museum is only three miles from La Verne it is a nice and convenient way to experience new and exciting things.

For more information on events and new exhibits at the museum, visit its Web site at www.pomona.edu/museum.

Jillian Peña can be reached at jpena2@ulv.edu.

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