The December show at the Beloit Art Center will feature the award-winning work of solo photographer Dr. John Spates.
Spates, a retired dentist, says of his work: “It’s a hobby that went berserk.”
Of his subject material, he says, “I am attracted to the abstract.”
Some of those interests can be seen in the 100 matted and framed Spates’ photos that will be on exhibit at the Beloit Art Center throughout December.
Often, a single subject dominates his art.
In one photo, the delicate, detailed nature of a pink rose shows through, so close to the camera lens veins of the petals can be seen. A park bench sits alone surrounded by lush green vegetation in another. The bright orange/rust shades of a canyon show the beauty of the formation. In yet another, a lone guitar is accompanied by a ruby-red pick stuck in the strings.
Much of his work was completed using the now old-fashioned way on 35 millimeter film and 4 x 5 negatives. Spates also has a dark room in his basement and there developed his own photos.
And, “I did just about everything on tripods,” he said.
Times have changed rapidly over the past decade and presently, he uses a digital camera and a printer.
Regardless, Spates says it is the composition that is the crucial element of a photo.
The important part is: “How can I best compose this?” he said.
While he has taken classes in the past, mostly he is self-taught. Other photographers he admires include Ansel Adams and John Shaw.
Over the years, “I did 90 juried shows and got awards at 50 of them,” he said.
The juried shows began when LaVonne Kunny, retired teacher, encouraged him to submit photos to an art fair at the Lincoln Center. The late artist Franklin Boggs judged his work and gave him two awards at one show.
The public is invited to attend the show opening and artist reception from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7 at the Beloit Art Center, 520 E. Grand Ave. Spates will be invited to talk about his work and answer questions at 6 p.m. Photos will be for sale.
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