Members of Delaware Community Lens, a Facebook photography group, will display some of their work at the Dover Public Library during the summer.
Images will include Delaware landscapes, still lifes and more abstract pieces.
Many of the photographers, such as Gervasio Ruiz Jr. of Milford, got involved in group because they knew Community Lens Founder John Mollura, a Milford photographer.
Ruiz will have 10 photographs in the show. While he says he likes talking all kinds of photographs, most of what a visitor will see in Dover are landscapes or still lifes.
“I like bold designs, graphic elements, angles, patterns, textures,” he said. “Whether it’s natural or manmade, something in my brain starts clicking when I see patterns and textures.”
Ruiz became interested in photography as child when his parents gave him a cheap plastic camera. By his teens, he was buying more expensive single lens reflex cameras.
He would go on to spend a lot of his working life in art jobs designing and create packaging, advertising and marketing pieces for companies in New York City. He made album, 8-track and cassette covers for RCA records and worked for both Revlon and L’Oreal cosmetics before tiring of the big city rat race and moving to Milford in 2007 with his wife, Nancy.
He met Mollura through working with the Mispillion Art League.
Ruiz, who volunteered with the Kalmar Nyckel for two years after moving to Delaware, usually works in color. Increasingly, though, he has has been experimenting with black and white, inspired by the beauty of Ansel Adams’ majestic photos of the American West. Sometimes, he said, he’ll see an interesting pattern and decide to print it in black and white.
“Suddenly, it just pops out like a graphic,” he said. “You take color away and you see the elements and they interact with each other.”
Community Lens was created to provide a supportive space for professional and hobbyist photographers interested in creating bonds that encourage each other in their desire to create and reduce the fear of showing work to others.
Their work often appears in the DelawareLIVE, MilfordLIVE and TownSqaureLIVE Weekly Reviews, websites and social media pages.
The photographers will gather Sunday, June 6, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dover Public Library for a “meet the artist reception.” The public is welcome. COVID-19 rules apply.
Joann Kingsley of Milford, who has four landscapes in the show, said she loves the solitude, beauty and surprises of nature, and has become an avid amateur photographer.
“I spend as much time as I can in parks, forests, marshes and coastlines, taking pictures of beautiful birds and landscapes,” she said. “In this exhibit, I focused on landscapes that made me feel something – serenity, awe, wistfulness, solitude.”
The Community Lens show will be the first exhibit that Matthew Trucks of Long Neck has ever participated in, although he’s placed highly in several Sussex County photo contests.
He found it hard to pick images for the show. “Just selecting the great ones is just kind of a passion,” he said.
Trucks works as a draftsman, creating detailed technical plans and drawings. He says his architectural background helps him read lines and understand the beauty of a landscape.
Photography “just brings you to the outdoors and to the understanding of wildlife and the impact of outside living, what the human infrastructure is and to love it and enjoy it,” Trucks said. “It’s just a serene, calming place.”
He bought his first single lens reflex camera in 2014, a Canon digital.
In contrast to Ruiz, who talks about how the advent of digital cameras have made many things easier, Trucks finds he’s become fascinated with shooting on film and bought a Penn camera to do that.
Photographer Brian Leonard of Felton, who organized the show in Dover, also got involved with Community Lens through Mollura, whom he knew from karate classes.
Leonard had enjoyed photography but in 2019, he wound up in the hospital for three weeks and was facing a serious change of life.
“I thought, well, if things don’t work out, what do I really leave here,” Leonard said. “I kind of wanted to have something that left a mark.”
Photography was his answer. By 2019, he decided to turn pro.
Three of his photos show the breadth of this interest.
One is a small white cross laying on the ground, covered in coins, shells, rocks and small mementos. He found in the center of the labyrinth at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lewes, the downtown church with graves up to its doors.
“It just looked neat,” he said.
One is a stark black-and-white image of chains, which he found at Gordon Pond in Cape Henlopen. He saw a small jetty shooting into a canal and ending up putting his camera down on the wood to shoot the chain close up.
Another is an image of sandpipers that he shot on watery sand at Prime Hook.
“I started playing around with the processing and wound up being able to process it so it looked like a drawing instead of an actual photograph,” he said.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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