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Eye of the Camera winners show works in museum

Littleton venue offers photo exhibition as part of yearly contest

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Two strong photographs greet visitors as they enter the gallery at the Littleton Museum. One is Steven Caulfield’s bright, seemingly-in-motion “Peacock” and the other is J.R. Schnelzer’s compelling portrait, “Intense.” (Who is that man and what’s on his mind?) These were Best of Show winners in color and black-and-white from the 2017 “Eye of the Camera” exhibition at the museum.

The joint exhibit, a reward for being a winner, allows the public to see an expanded view of works by talented artists, showing a wide range of beautifully presented images. They would seem to represent different ways of seeing the world: observant and introspective.

Schnelzer, “an active professional photographer” per his website, said his portrait subject was a person he met in San Francisco, but there’s no story included. The viewer, depending on what he/she brings to the experience, will probably spin off several possible thoughts and storylines!

Schnelzer, who lives in Milliken, Colorado, with his wife, Lisa, also a photographer, is also listed as director of parks for the city of Fort Collins — another profession requiring visual aptitude. This is not the first time he has won an Eye of the Camera award. Although his award was for Best of Show; Black and White, his new exhibit is almost entirely in color, showing a wide range of interests: travel, including to India; landscapes, near and far; an especially lovely, detailed close-up of a “painted sparrow” and another of a solemn cat; an old homestead on the plains — and the fascinating black-and-white image, “Alice’s World,” that again is full of possible stories. A visit to Schnelzer’s website gallery is rewarding for its breadth of subjects and intensity — certainly true of this exhibit in the freshly painted gallery.

Caulfield’s abstract “Peacock” won him a Best of Show. “I paint with light” he wrote, “and I attempt to make the lights look like they were brushed on. I use movement to create shapes and I often shoot through glass to bend the light, which produces more colors … (`Peacock’ was shot through a vase.) Sharing my photos sometimes reminds me of a Rorschach ink blot test … Each viewer usually sees something different … Now rotate the image 90 or 120 degrees … Does change the perspective?”

This photographer wrote that he is fairly new to digital photography. He has a BFA in graphic design, worked in computer-aided drafting and then switched careers when his son “suffered a traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident and I helped him rehabilitate. It was very fulfilling so I switched fields. Now, I work at a nonprofit helping individuals with developmental disabilities work at various jobs.” Caulfield said he paints in his Lakewood living room and wishes viewers could rotate his works for differing images. He also wishes no titles were needed, “but that tends to be quite confusing.”

The 2017 exhibit was the 52nd annual edition of this popular show. Early Littleton Fine Arts Board member Gene Kramer thought it would expand on the board’s goal of providing exhibition opportunities for artists, as well as providing local art lovers with an opportunity to not only see, but perhaps buy art. (Caulfield happily reported that five of his images have found buyers.) The Fine Arts Board is appointed by the Littleton City Council. Denise Weed is chair.

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