by Bella Erakko
Route 66 evokes strong memories. Last summer, member artist Connie Stevens took to the roads of New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas (and anything in-between), drawn to the motels, gas stations, diners, on dusty 2-lane roads planted in this stark vibrant landscape. She brackets images with her camera, which immediately create three images: bright, medium, and low light. Once home, she merges the three photographs using High Dynamic Range (HDR) to create an emotionally compelling image. “When I am out taking photos, they don’t always look the way I remember the scene. My brain recalls the scene differently than the picture, and the photo does not do justice to the way I felt when I took it.”
So she works extensively with filtering techniques, transforming scenes into digitally enhanced images. Walking down Main Street, Hannibal becomes an intoxicating blend of color, store fronts, and billowing white clouds swirling through blue-saturated sky. An old Route 66 motel evokes such strong emotions that you want to immediately get into your car, map in hand, and start driving west.
She admits, “The southwest is just unbelievable. It is the land of enchantment. New Mexico and Arizona are just full of earth and color and light.” On a rainy dull day, there is no better place to be than standing in front of Connie Steven’s photographs, soaking up the emotional joy of color, light, and unforgettable images. ~ ~ ~ An opening reception will be held Saturday, May 11, from 5:00 until 8:00 pm. A piece of Connie’s work will be given away in a free drawing held at 6:00. This reception coincides with Hannibal’s Second Saturday Gallery Night.