Photographer's Exhibit Shows the Color of Sedalia [The Sedalia Democrat, Sedalia, Mo.]
(Sedalia Democrat (MO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 04--By Faith Bemiss
Local photographer, Kevin Walker's first solo exhibit, "Photographic Adventures of Kevin Walker," opened Friday at the Liberty Center Association for the Arts with 55 photos selected from the thousands of images he's amassed in the last two years shooting with his digital camera.
Walker has has been shooting photos for 37 years, but only began shooting digital recently. His exhibit is a slice of Sedalia life, from its people, buildings, pets, sports, entertainers and its tragedies he offers a glimpse into it's heart.
He said he was excited that Terri Ballad, the executive director of LCAA asked him to show his work November through December.
"When I bought my digital camera two years ago, I just started going stupid," he said. "In the two years since I bought my digital camera I've shot over 25,000 photos."
He said he enjoys digital more than film because he is able to manipulate the images. His newest collection is what he calls, "Colored Sedalia," in which he's manipulated the color scheme of well known Sedalia buildings and landmarks creating bright, fluorescent tones.
"With this series here, with the program I use, I took regular photos and I got this colorized version. I've got about 55 in this series and we picked four out of it."
In the series he has the Eddies Drive-in sign, the top turrets of the Trust Building, Washington Street Bridge and the Pettis County Courthouse columns. Not only does the color change the feel of the photo but it also pops out the details, such as bricks and roofing.
"Which is what I like," he said."It was a lot of fun to do."
Colored Sedalia, made by using a Corell Paint program and PicMonkey, it's a bit of a play on words, he said because of Sedalia's colorful past history.
"PicMonkey is a lot of fun, because you don't have to download it to your computer, you just do all online stuff," he said.
Long before the digital age, Walker began photography at the age of 12, with the help of Don Harms, formerly of KDRO Radio.
"He was one of the disc jockeys there on the evening shift," Walker said. "And, I met Don and he took me under his wing, he was like another dad to me. He got me involved in photography, and anywhere we'd go he'd take shots and pictures, and he had a darkroom at his house. So he started teaching me the darkroom, so I learned the old fashioned way with photography. I Learn to do some of the techniques that now I do digitally, but do much quicker.
"But you lose that cool effect when you're sitting in the darkroom and and putting that through the developer and then all of a sudden poom! There's a picture! You're hoping that the shot looks as cool as when you took it. But in the digital world you know if you've got a sucky shot right off the bat," he added.
Walker's favorite image, for the show is a shot of Bothwell Lodge made last fall. It was produced as is a large five piece installation, by Impact Signs and Lighting Co. Inc., of Sedalia. The image was placed into the front 10 windows and doors of LCAA, Friday morning, and looks like a reflection. Made on the screen material that goes on the back of a windows, people will still be able to see outside.
"They sent me a preview of what it was going to look like, and I was so excited, I mean to have your picture blown up that big," he said. "It actually brought tears to my eyes, I was in so much shock on how it turned out, because as a photographer when you get your work up, and see it in form of a show, it's nice--the recognition and everything.
"I'm tickled to death and that's really the creme de la creme of all my photos in the series.
Walker's images are varied, one in particular called, "Snowagedden," is a photo of the snowstorm that hit Sedalia last February. It is taken at Broadway Blvd. and Harrison St. looking west. Walker said the photo was on CNN's website and received 19,000 hits.
He also has an unusual one titled, "Kio Drum," a senior portrait of the son of Michelle Calder-Drum riding his motorcycle with his hands in the air.
"Here is a senior photo I enjoyed taking," Walker said. " This is out on Cherry Tree Lane. His mom is my insurance agent, so needless to say we are doing all sorts of things that an insurance agent wouldn't be happy with. She only let us do this, without a helmet, for one-quarter of a mile. I'm hanging out of the back of her window standing up in the back seat doing a little snake-shaping out the back of the car, as she's driving down Cherry Tree Lane to get this shot."
Walker also has shots of the Mark Twain School fire, Toby Keith at the Missouri State Fair, the race car crash August 19, 2012, at the fair.
The crash titled, "Tragedy at the Race Track," depicts to moment right before car 112 hit the fence, injuring several people.
Walker said he'd been to several NASCAR races and had become attuned to sense when a wreck was going to happen.
"That's what happened with this," he said. "From the beginning to the end. I hate to say that I was proud of it, Randy (Kirby) asked me, 'How long did it take you to realize what you had?' I said, 'Immediatley.' The problem was I didn't know if I should leave immediately, because I didn't know if the races were completely over. Then they said the races are cancelled, and boy we bolted, because I wanted to get home and get those out."
Walker said the images went viral on the Internet and eventually ended up in"Racing World," magazine.
When shooting tragedies, Walker tends to tread softly. He also photographed the May 25, 2012, memorial of Sgt. 1st Class Trenton L. Rhea, who was killed in Afghanistan. Sensitive to the family, his photo only showed people lining the driveway with American flags.
"As you can see again, I didn't use any of the family cars or any of that," Walker said. "People call that the money shot, and I do agree it is the money shot, but you can still tell the story, I think. When I take pictures I think, 'Do I want that done to me?' I just can't do that to people, because if they see my shots they are going to have to relive the horror."
On a lighter note, Walker has an excellent shot of his pit bull, Kharma, running out of the Liberty Park pool during Dogie Days. He captured the "smiling" tongue lagging, pooch pouncing to his master amid a spray of stop-action water droplets frozen midair.
Walker said his show is sponsored by Impact Signs and Lighting Co. Inc., Walgreens, who made the prints for him, Bings Supermarket East, who provded food for his reception, and Becca's Framing, who did the matted his photos. He is a new member of the Sedalia Visual Arts Association, who also provided food and wine for his reception Friday night.
"Photographic Adventures of Kevin Walker," will run through December at LCAA, located at 111 W. Fifth St. Hours for the exhibit are: Tuesday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For addiditonal information call, 660-827-3228.
(c)2013 The Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Mo.)
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