BY BRIAN RIGGS
FORT MADISON – June always offers a view from different lenses with the Annual Photography Exhibition. See from the eyes of Amy Clark of Mt. Pleasant, Jay Scott of Keokuk, and Jean Baxter Neuweg and PJ Hogan of Ft. Madison.
A reception for the photographers will take place Friday from 5-7 p.m. at the FMAAA gallery at 825 Avenue G. Viewing is available all month Tuesdays and Thursdays 12-7 p.m. and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10-5 p.m.
Amy Clark from Mt. Pleasant is the photographer behind Hopeful Hearts Photography. She has always had an appreciation of the natural world. At times in her life when she was going through a hard phase, and couldn’t see a lot of hope in her life, she could still see a glimmer of it when she looked outside. A flower poking up through the concrete was just enough hope to keep her going until the next day. The sun streaming through the clouds lifted her heart. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough. Now, she is a photographer, a writer, and is on the path to becoming a therapist.
Hopeful Hearts Photography is the link between her love of photography, nature, and her passion for supporting positive mental health. Her goal is to help people see signs of hope and feel beauty in their souls, when they need it most. A beautiful sunset does not take away all your troubles, but it might just lighten your pain for a moment. You might be in a cold, dark winter in your life, but remembering that spring is coming might just give you the strength you need to keep on keeping on. Amy lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband and three children. Her website and blog can be found at www.hopefulheartsandcoffeecups.com
Jean Baxter Neuweg from Ft. Madison is a nature/landscape photographer. Her passion is observing life through my camera. She enjoys sharing her love of nature and the beauty of somewhat ordinary things and places, whether it’s the hope, peace, and colors of a new day or season, or providing a place to sit down and stay awhile, reminiscing and relaxing in a local park. She uses a Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera and a Sony Cybershot Compact Camera. Her pictures have been published in local calendars(Fort Madison Daily Democrat) and featured on the local news(KHQA).
Jay Scott was born in 1971 to Joe and Jackie Scott, Joe (Jay) Scott grew up like most boys in Keokuk with a love for the outdoors and fishing the river. Hunting with his father, grandfather, and uncles fueled Jay’s love for nature and later in his early teen years lead him to the coveted rank of Eagle Scout with the Boys Scouts of America. Jay began his journey with photography early on with a Kodak Brownie, photographing everything he could point his camera at.
In his early teen years, Jay dove a little deeper into photography through the Photography Merit badge in Boy Scouts. Working with merit badge counselor Dick Stebbings, a local photographer that really took Jay under his wing and started feeding his love for the art with more assignments than just those required for the merit badge. Armed with a full manual Yashica 35mm fixed lens camera, Keokuk was prime ground for a young man eager to learn and sharpen his photographic skills.
After serving in the United States Air Force Jay returned to his roots in Keokuk and began taking classes and studying Photography and Journalism attending Seattle Film Works and later the New York Institute of Photography. Today, Jay has been published in numerous publications and has won several awards, most recent being named Americas Next Great Photographer in the Landscape Division. Jay’s most favorite is Landscape Photography and Lightning.
PJ Hogan has been a fixture at FMAAA for several years. He learned his way around a camera with the help of Albert Fromme, a well-known photographer of portraits. Two points stuck with him til this day that Albert stressed. Never shoot a person with anything in background “sticking out of their head. Also an interesting point when shooting elderly people. Hold the camera above your head with sun behind it at 30 degree angle and point it at their chest so that you see the shadow of the camera. Than pull down and shoot. It will wash out a decade of wrinkles for the subject.
Lunch-ala-Art will provide a strong finale to the feature on June 28th at noon.