Photography: either a window or a mirror |

Photography: either a window or a mirror

Cassie Pence
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyPhotographer Jon Hollis of Eagle looks at Ben Horton's photography of the frog.

AVON – Vino Anthony, a photographer of 30 years, was driving one day when he noticed the sun casting its radiance across the sheer, red cliffs near Eagle.”The light was just perfect,” Anthony said. So he pulled off the road, never leaving home without his camera, to snap a photograph. As he was setting up his shot, a police car drove up next to him. The officer got out of his car and asked Anthony, “What exactly are you doing?””Taking a picture,” Anthony said.The officer peered out in the direction of Anthony’s camera and said, “taking a picture of what?” Sometimes, photography is just misunderstood.

Anthony knows this. He and his wife, Jackie, have opened the Fine Art of Photography gallery in Avon to help establish an appreciative value of the medium as an art form.”I feel photography is equal to fine art, however, it’s not recognized in that degree,” Anthony said. “Photography is much more than souvenir art that you might buy around here. Photography is capturing things that the future is going to disappear.”When Anthony thought about his objective for the gallery, he began calling photographers he knew from around the valley. He requested their best shots, images that represent the medium to the highest degree.”There is a Polaroid mentality in this society. To create an image takes intellect and craftsmanship. It takes commitment to the medium. It’s not just pushing the trigger. There has to be a connection made between the viewer and what the photo is trying to express,” said Singletree photographer Raymond A. Bleesz, whose images are displayed at Anthony’s gallery.Bleesz said the Anthonys deserve high accolades for their gallery venture because the business can be tough and displaying locals’ work can be even more difficult.”There’s a need for such a gallery,” Bleesz said. “There is too much emphasis on bronzes, oils, etc. in the galleries in the Vail Valley, and at price points which are atmospherically beyond belief. There is more to fine art photography than the (Ansel) Adams, the Edward Curtis images and even Colorado’s own (John) Fielder.”

‘Composition the name of the game’Subjects and styles vary among photographs hanging on the walls of Fine Art of Photography. Many of Anthony’s shots capture the severity and grandeur of mountains, which makes sense considering his son, Chris, is one of the world’s best extreme skiers and is often featured in Warren Miller films.”It’s capturing the look, the feeling, the concept of where it is, so you feel like you’re apart of the photograph,” Anthony said. John Sheppard’s imagery evokes the West, cowboys, elk at sunset and barns. “It starts with the eye, and then composition is the name of the game,” said Sheppard, who has self-published three photography books. “It’s also pulling out an emotional response from the viewer.”

Ben Horton, 21, of Edwards is a fashion photographer. In addition to his fashion work, Horton is showcasing some of his nature and vineyard pieces in the gallery. Horton, who makes a living shooting models, said fashion photography allows him to be more creative as opposed to shooting standard scenic shots.”I make the whole picture. Landscape is already pretty,” Horton said. “I’m forcing people to see it my way.”Mike Crabtree, who owns a gallery east of Eagle, is also a featured photographer. He submitted photos to Anthony because of the exposure upvalley. Crabtree likes candid shots of people.”I try to capture the soul of people. Hunting people is a real thrill,” said Crabtree. Crabtree’s photos of water are quite interesting, visually extracting abstract patterns of water’s ripples and waves.”I like the feeling of water. It’s ever changing,” said Crabtree.

Jon Hollis of Eagle is a commercial photographer, creating the majority of his work in the studio. He shoots in film, not digital, like most of the featured photographers. Hollis is as much a light technician as he is a photographer. He manipulates the mood and outcome of his photograph with lighting in his studio.”The idea for me is that the only thing we can do, as humans, is to create,” Hollis said.Ingrid Gianneti, Toni Axelrod and Dan Davies are also showcased at the gallery. And all of the work displayed, no matter the subject, expresses that photography is indeed a fine art. Prices for photography range from $275 to $2,000. The gallery is located in the Slifer Smith and Frampton building in Avon. It’s open 4-10 p.m. Friday and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (970) 926-1087. Cassie Pence can be reached at Colorado

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