Ft. Collins – September 6
We made it into Ft. Collins Thursday afternoon and got ourselves set up at the KOA. Not the kind of place we normally like to stay in, but circumstances dictate this to be the best option. It is one of the upper end KOA’s, meaning it has lots of amenities. Things like a catch and release pond, paddle boats, par-course, rental bikes, game rooms, chuck wagon, and hot tubs at selected sites. We chose a lesser-priced space, but still it is costing us $45 per night. It does have laundry and the closeness to town is a big plus. It is located on the outskirts and nestled in a corn field, so the nights are very quiet and peaceful.
On Friday I was up early to get the Rav4 into the Toyota dealer for the mirror repair. This went well but ended up costing over $400.00. I could have gone through my insurance, but the difficulty in getting an adjuster and estimate before getting the repair changed my mind. I’m not going to get the dented side panels replaced for the time being. They’re not that bad and who knows how many more deer encounters I’ll have before this trip is done.
In the evening Mary and I went to the opening of the Center Forward show. This is the main reason we hurried out here so quickly. We stopped for an early dinner at the Ft. Collins Brewery where they also had a gourmet grub restaurant. One of Mary’s goals for the trip was to try drinking some of the micro brews that so many of the towns now have. Mary is not generally, er, make that not at all a fan of beer, but she is a gamer and so was willing to give it a try. We were presented with a wide selection of interesting brews to start with and Mary left it up to me to make the choices. For her, I chose a nice light cream style beer, called Cream Ale. It was smooth with a hint of vanilla, and she seemed to tolerate most of the pint. I had the Red Banshee, which was, like it’s name, quite red. It was also terrific and I liked my choice best. For dinner, we both had really great burgers with amazingly great fries. First dinner out of the trip.
We got to the event right after the doors opened. There were already lots of folks there looking around at the images. It is always very gratifying to see my work on the wall, but seeing everyone else’s work makes the whole event that much better. Quite a few of the other photographers were also in attendance and getting to meet and chew the fat was a lot of fun and quite interesting. Being able to associate the work with the face, and hearing about what they are working on is so enervating.
There were several other San Franciscans in the show along with me. Among them, Nicholas Albrecht was also in attendance. He showed two portraits, both striking and a little disturbing. One of the images of an older woman in bra and cut-offs was particularly affecting. She is quite emaciated with dark moles all over her body. Betty is seated sideways in a nice fabric covered chair, she looks off to some unseen life. He told me she was slowly dying. A smoker and drinker, it is hard to say how she feels about her life. Other San Franciscans in the show but not there were, Jo Babcock, John Martin and Tim Pinault.
Susan Barnett was in attendance. I have seen her work all over the web and it was really great to see the actual prints. For this project, Susan photographs the back of people’s T-shirts – the images and slogans that people choose to identify with. The shirts are very interesting alone, but the way she frames each image is also striking. She herself is quite a character as well.
Someone whose work I have seen and admired for some time is S. Gayle Stevens. She uses a pinhole camera and prints using the wet plate collodion process. She was not there, but Judy Sherrod was. Judy builds the boxes the finished plates are affixed to, and was another interesting person to talk with. The pieces are large. They were told it wasn’t possible to make prints this large with the process, but they proved otherwise.
Another very interesting guy was Sean Stewart. He was showing an example from one of his many projects. This one involved x-raying vacuum tubes and making beautiful black and white prints from them. I got to talk with him a lot and he later showed me work from several different projects – one involved creating a new font using x-ray sex toys. I’ve got to see how this one turns out.
One of my favorite prints in the show was by Ruth Dudley-Carr. Her piece, called Coiled, shows a twisting figure’s arm and torso in water. The head is turned away. It is dark and sensuous and just a very lovely print. I also met Vivian Keulards and Julia Vandenoever. Both talented photographers with interesting points of view.
On Saturday, we all met up again for lunch, portfolio sharing among ourselves and reviews by both Ann Jastrab, Director of RayKo photography Center, and Hamidah Glasgow, Director of Center for Fine Art Photography. This was another chance to get to know each other again. All told, it was a really fun experience. I really wish it was possible to attend more of these. I’ll have to get into some more local competitions. Actually, this show will be traveling to both the Denver Airport and later to RayKo Gallery in San Francisco, so I will indeed be able to attend another opening for the work. Great!