Exhibition selects Singletree photographer
The Business of Art Center in Manitou Springs has selected two photographs from Singletree fine art photographer Raymond A. Bleesz for its upcoming exhibition in September, “The 3rd annual Rocky Mountain Regional Juried Photography Exhibition.” A total of 341 images were submitted from four states. Seventy-five photographs were accepted and specifically selected by the juror Mark Sink.
The Art Center in Historic Manitou Springs is a recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Bleesz had two images selected for this particular show, and last year as well. This year’s juror, Sink, is a well-known Denver photographer as well as director of the Sink Gallery in Denver.
As a working photographer, curator and teacher, Sink has been making a living from photography since 1978. Sink has his work represented by the G Ray Hawkins Gallery in California, Robin Rice in New York, and Rule Modern and Contemporary in Denver, along with galleries in Seattle and Santa Fe. He has worked with and documented the lives and works of noted artists such as Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat and Rene Ricard. Sink is noted for his work in nudes, as well as with the Diane camera, a soft focus camera.
Bleesz’s images selected for the exhibit are called “Mr. Peanut, Store Decal” and “Morrison Formation Cut, the Hogback, Looking South, 1980s.” Both images are technologically different and unique, and both images were taken during the 1980s. Bleesz has been a working photographer since 1976, and an educator prior to his commitment to photography.
“Mr. Peanut” was taken with Polacolor film, a Polaroid instant color slide 35 mm film, which is no longer produced and was, at the time, a very innovative film for commercial and fine art photographers. Bleesz withheld working with the transparency until recently and specifically brought it out from his archives for this exhibition. With the digital revolution taking place at commercial pro labs, Bleesz decided to work with the original transparency. Having the Polacolor slide scanned and then printed on Fuji Crystal paper at Reed Photo in Denver, a commercial pro lab, the end result was a likeness to the original image Bleesz saw in the viewfinder of his camera at the time the image was taken. Utilizing photo techniques of the ’80s would not have produced the quality he was looking for.
“Mr. Peanut,” along with another similar decal taken with the Polacolor film at the time, was affixed to the 9-foot doors of the Kneisel and Anderson Grocery/Hardware store in Georgetown, the oldest, continuing family run general store in the state of Colorado, dating back to the late 1880s. The building is a designated National Historic Site. Those decals are no longer on those doors.
“The Morrison Formation Cut, The Hogback, Looking South” was likewise taken in the early 1980s with a 4×5 camera, which at the time was a relatively new piece of equipment for Bleesz. In fact, the old Burke and James 4×5 camera with a Kodak Ektar 155 mm lens was given to him by a supportive mentor. The panoramic image looks south from the Morrison Exit on Interstate 70, prior to the creation of the C-470 route south. The territory in the photo is uncluttered with highways and development ” The topography of south Denver was just starting to change with the development of Highlands Ranch.
The Business of Art Center is located at 513 Manitou Avenue, Manitou Springs. The exhibit opens Sept. 4 with a reception and juror’s discussion and awards Sept. 10 at 4 p.m. The exhibit closes Oct. 23.
For more information, contact Bleesz at 926-9182. Other images by Bleesz can be viewed at Brush Creek Dry Goods store in Edwards, or a portfolio can be viewed by appointment.