My very first article for The Durango Herald appeared on New Year's Day in 2008. The story was about an exhibit at Open
Shutter Gallery, which at the time was located on West Second Avenue. Since then, I have written about the iconoclastic
photo gallery on several occasions because it consistently exhibits great work and provides locals with the opportunity
to see celebrated photography by international artists.
On Friday, Open Shutter inaugurated its first international juried exhibit, Exposure." Selected by Open Shutter and
world-renowned photographer Phil Borges, the exhibition includes 77 images (from 380 entries) in black and white, color
and alternative processes by 52 photographers from four countries.
As a credible jury for such an endeavor, Open Shutter owner Margy Dudley and her staff are astute and discerning. As
for Borges, his credentials are beyond reproach. A leading documentary photographer, he continues to work diligently to
build awareness and understanding of issues faced by people in developing nations and has published four critically
acclaimed books as well as having exhibited twice at Open Shutter Gallery.
Describing his own work, Borges said, I want the viewer to see these people as individuals, to know their names and a
bit of their history, not just to view them as an anonymous part of some remote ethnic or tribal group."
Among his many altruistic and humane endeavors, the documentarian founded Bridges to Understanding, a nonprofit
organization that connects students in Seattle classrooms with their peers in South Africa, Peru, Guatemala, India,Cambodia and other countries.
Ten monetary awards were presented at the opening of Exposure;" three bests" and seven for excellence." The Best of
Show went to Patrick Paul Rene of Moab, Utah. Best Black & White went to Ed Mertz of Arizona, and Best Color was
awarded to Sandra Chen Weinstein of California.
Rene's landscape image, while comparatively small, is haunting, ethereal and mesmerizing. (The image appears in
Friday's Durango Herald.) The Chen Weinstein photo of a woman peering through yellow fabric is startling in its color,hence the award, but on further inspection suggests a deeper story behind the veil. Ed Mertz' photo of a biting horse
moves between whimsy and pathos, and I doubt anyone will look at it without tilting their head. Among the seven
Excellence honorees, Branson Reynolds and Jeremy Wade Shockley are from Durango, and at least 10 other locals are
represented in the show.
All the top award winners, plus many of the other entrants, are internationally recognized, collected and published
photographers. Other than the medium, a common thread throughout the show is the sense of connection between the
photographer, the subject and the viewer. The subjects on display vary from landscape and animals to people and
man-made objects, yet when viewed collectively, they are indicative of the bond we all share with the Earth.
Recognizing that intrinsic connectivity, it is easy to understand why Phil Borges was the natural choice to judge this
Stew Mosberg is a freelance art writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.