View from a Lens:4 photographers; 4 perspectives
May 9 through June 3, 2017
Reception on Fri, May 19 from 6 to 8pm
Refreshments and live music provided
Lynn Donaldson: “Hands down, my favorite subject to photograph is rural Montana. My favorite thing to do is roam around on gravel roads with my camera. I’m not particularly interested in shooting scenery or wildlife, but I love photographing people, dusty barrooms, rodeos, and events. Displayed in this show are three images, out of hundreds of thousands of frames I’ve snapped in the past 25 years, documenting Montana’s rural corners.”
Testimonial and photo journalistic work by Keegan Nashan from the Syrian refugee crisis and eloquent landscape photography by Lindsay Wells in a series entitled “From my Back Door”.
Architectural work from Paul Whiting: “I do better work when I don’t go out hunting for photographs. Quite the opposite: the photograph finds me, it presents itself. To be aware of what surrounds us requires that we remain open – when we do, grace, and a compelling photograph, find us”.
These four artists will be displaying varied perspectives in complement and contrast to each other’s work.
MORE ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Freelance photojournalist Lynn Donaldson covers the Northern Rockies for National Geographic Traveler, Nat Geo News, the New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Sunset and many others. As a Contributor to NatGeoTravel’s Instagram feed, Donaldson regularly shares images of life & travel throughout the West with NGT’s audience of over 12 million followers.
Having photographed two cookbooks (Open Range) by Jay Bentley & Patrick Dillon and Gatherings: Friends & Recipes from Montana’s Mustang
Kitchen), Donaldson was inspired to launch the Montana food & travel blog, The Last Best Plates.
When not scouring the state with her team of reporters in search of appetizing stories, she can be found on the trails & streams surrounding Livingston with husband and their three children.
DESCRIPTION Hands down, my favorite subject to photograph is rural Montana. I was raised on the farm my great-grandparents homesteaded near Denton, and small town life fascinates me. My favorite thing to do is roam around on gravel roads with my camera. I’m not particularly interested in shooting scenery or wildlife, but I love photographing people, dusty barrooms, rodeos, and events. Displayed in this show are three images, out of hundreds of thousands of frames I’ve snapped in the past 25 years, documenting Montana’s rural corners.
Many of the subjects I choose look like they came straight out of a time warp
—which is something I love about small towns in the West. When you’re in New York City, you know what year it is—from the cars people drive to the clothes and hairstyles they are wearing to window displays and the proliferation of advertising that surrounds you —the year is palpable. In rural Montana? The era is anybody’s guess.
I met Ibrahim at our food distribution. I called him my Sweet Sweet Cameraman for the first two weeks because every time we showed up, he would ask for my camera to take pictures. At the time, there was a scabies and body lice outbreak in Serbia. We carried rubbing alcohol everywhere, and used it obsessively, even though we didn’t know if it actually killed the mites or nits. His hands had crusts in the crevices from the scabies, and many had surrendered to sleepless nights because of the itching caused by the body lice. When we found out that him and his friends were living in an abandoned house, he pulled me by the hand around the building and up the stairs to the second floor where they had been sleeping underneath the half of the roof that was still standing.
He is 15 years old and traveling with his cousin, Afzal, who is also 15. In the group of 12 that later moved into the ‘White House’, a slightly better abandoned building, five were underage and traveling alone. Ibrahim and his cousin, Afzal, two brothers, Usman (15) and Azhar (14), and Zeriab (17). One day, I took my sweet boys to the hospital in order to try and get rid of the body lice and scabies. As they are unregistered, they have to be taken into the emergency room, where they have an obligation to treat them. We waited for 4+ hours to see the doctor. All the while, enduring the disgust and fear-filled eyes of patients and nurses alike. As people walked by, they gave us a great berth. Mothers shielded their children with no idea that these boys were not even out of childhood themselves. When the dermatologist finally saw us, she brought all five in the room together, and forced them to undress. I asked if I should leave the room, and the look in her eyes was a mixture of fear and authority as she told me to stay. Their embarrassment was only combatted by the fact that they knew I had a little brother who was the same age. It made little difference, as anyone who has spent any time around 15 year old boys (or children in general) knows, it is the age of development, and the start of a craving for privacy. As they undressed, full sized lice fell from their clothes onto the floor. Keeping my face impassive, I argued with the doctor until she threatened to call the police because she refused to provide them with a shower or the medication to treat the lice and scabies. I walked out in a rage. Anger is easier than sadness.
A week later, Usman and his brother called me from inside the ‘White House’. The police had surrounded their home, and he and his brother were terrified. They begged for my help, and then we were disconnected. I jumped into a car with another volunteer and watched as they loaded 10 of the 12 living in the ‘White House’ into a police van. Usman called me from inside of the van, and we followed them to the police station. They were released 10 hours later, having not been given access to any food or water. The mood was celebratory, however, because they had not been fined. Usman and his brother are required by Serbian law to have a social worker present for their hearing because they are underage. One was not provided.
Eight days later, I received a similar call. I listened and tried to console Usman and his brother, Ibrahim and his cousin, as each passed the phone to each other. Their house was surrounded again. I listened to Ibrahim cry, and sat, watching the pumpkin pie I made from scratch to celebrate Thanksgiving brown in the oven. There was nothing that I could do. This time, the Serbian government had deployed the army to round up the 200+ people living outside around the town I was in. I pulled my pie from the oven, and walked to the location multiple people who I was in touch with had sent me. Five people besides my sweet boys called. Grown men, begging me to do something; to intervene on their behalf. I sat in front of the train station, and watched as the army and local police formed a gauntlet to off load my friends, my sweet sweet boys, from the buses. Chain-smoking as tears streamed down my face, I received messages of comfort from the very people being forced onto the train.
45 minutes later, I got a call from one of my friends, he and 8 of his friends had jumped off the train and needed blankets. On the way to the warehouse, I saw Afzal, Ibrahim’s cousin, walking. I lept out of the car, and wrapped my arms around him. I felt his body surrender to comfort for 5 seconds, then, pulling back and wiping his eyes, he said, “Kiki, no safe here. Police.” That evening, I handed Afzal and another 17 year old who I hadn’t met before, two blankets and a two-person tent. There was nothing more that I could give them. He did not know if Ibrahim had also jumped off the train, and feared he would be taken to Preševo. Of the 200+ people who were forced onto the train, 102 arrived. Preševo is essentially a transit camp were the Serbian government has been holding people before illegally pushing them back into Macedonia. Many of the people I met during my time in Serbia had experienced this illegal expulsion during their time in the country. The fear surrounding the camp in Preševo is palpable. The next day, Ibrahim, my Sweet Sweet Cameraman, and Afzal walked into the community center. “Kiki-Mom, no problem,” Ibrahim said to me. I sat and listened to them recount the story of their night. The day before, my little brother called to tell me he had his first kiss at the formal. Usman and his brother didn’t jump off the train. It was the last time I saw them.
Ibrahim made it to Germany in the beginning of December. Afzal, after spending another month trying to traverse the borders of Serbia, Hungary, and Austria, finally joined him there. Usman and his brother are in an open camp in Hungary. I don’t know where Zeriab is.
Lindsay Wells is a freelance lifestyle/landscape photographer who is lucky enough to call Paradise Valley Montana her home. She was born in Oregon, raised in California, then moved to Montana when she was 19.
She has since resided in the beautiful Treasure state for almost 15 years. A Montana State University graduate, Lindsay holds a bachelors degree in photography which she has utilized to help her create the images she has produced for multiple publications and galleries for over a decade. Her greatest passion is capturing the incredible landscapes, eclectic places & unique people around her. When Lindsay isn’t busy documenting the abundant beauty that can be found around every corner of our amazing state, she can be found hanging out with her 2 year old daughter Willow. And most likely photographing her, too. Thanks for looking! lindsaywellsphotography.com
Having lived in seven major cities including Geneva, Switzerland before graduating from high school, becomes attuned to urban spaces. Learns French.
Graduates Phi Beta Kappa with a major in physics and mathematics from St. Olaf College, 1959. Later, intrigued by the humanities, turns from science to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching in French and Education, from Northwestern University in 1965. At his first teaching assignment, a language lab morphed into videography, and learns communicating in color, motion, and sound. Moves from education to work in community-based television for a cable company. Then serves as Communication Director for regional offices of the Lutheran Church. The church work leads to living in Mexico producing video documentary for a Mexican non-profit organization.
However, his first love remains the still black and white image. Whiting has been largely self taught in photography, with the exception of some coursework at Columbia College, now affiliated with the Art Institute of Chicago.