The love of nature shines through clearly in Debra Hall’s photography.
On Friday, Jan. 4, the public is invited to view her photos at the Beloit Art Center, 520 E. Grand Ave. when her exhibit opens.
Hall retired after working many years in customer service jobs, owning her own business, working in manufacturing and more.
She’s always been interested in art, however.
“I’ve always loved art. I took it all through high school,” she said.
And when she owned her own business, she created cookbooks and banners.
“I always kept myself in the arts a little bit.”
Then in 2012, “I needed to destress,” she said.
She found a relaxing outlet and hobby through the camera lens.
In the beginning, with just a small digital camera, she took shots of an elk in Estes Park, Colorado, blew up the photo, framed it and hung it on a wall at her place of work. Three people wanted to buy it, she said.
That’s when she knew the hobby that became a passion was worth pursuing.
Thousands of photos later and now armed with a couple Canon cameras and a distance lens, Hall has continued to expand her subject matter. She also serves on the board of the Janesville Art League.
At the Jan. 4 opening, the exhibit will include photos of sunsets, landmarks, birds, fog scenes, winter scenes, manipulated photos and much more.
While photos will be for sale, Hall says she does photography simply because she enjoys it.
“I like to just snap, snap, snap, and get that one shot,” she said.
And she has exhibited her work in the Wisconsin Regional Arts Program. One piece is headed for the state contest, she said.
While some of her work is not local, many of her photos have been taken in her own backyard, in rural Clinton, she said.
The Jan. 4 opening will be held from 5-8 p.m. and is a reception for the photographer who will be available to answer questions and talk about her pieces.
The exhibit will remain at the Beloit Art Center through January.
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.