"Landscape Photography at Fraser Gallery"
At the Fraser Gallery Bethesda to September 10, 2003
By Louis Jacobson
© Washington City Paper
Thursday, August 28, 2003.

Part of the "Landscape Photography" exhibit at Bethesda's Fraser Gallery is a homecoming: Such past gallery favorites as Maxwell MacKenzie, Forrest MacCormack, Karin Rosenthal, and proprietor Catriona Fraser contributed works to the show. Some of these pieces are newly exhibited, including MacKenzie's uncharacteristic 1995 image of a snow-capped Welsh mountain and a pair of long-exposure images of trees bathed in bluish-purple light by MacCormack.

But the show rounds out with a half-dozen newcomers, most of whom work in black and white. Several of them—including Gifford Ewing, Lyn Markey, Mark Schaeffer, Jim Steele, and Craig Sterling—produce images of sweeping, photogenic landscapes that are technically sound yet stylistically unadventurous (and largely indistinguishable from each other).

A few, though, are especially impressive. Sterling contributed a remarkable wide-angle photo of a sand dune that's extremely detailed and in places offers an almost solarized effect. Steele also finds success with a sand dune, this one with boldly diagonal lines and a row of small tufts of vegetation. Mary Lang's image of Crater Lake National Park forswears the park's dramatic blue waters in favor of an equally striking symphony of grays—a horizonless, fluffy mass of fog. And John DeFabbio, using grainy stock, recapitulates the iconic image of a tree-lined French country road, leaving an arresting void in the center that suggests the fiery self-immolation of a piece of nitrate film.

The show is on view from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, through Saturday, Sept. 6; Tuesday, Sept. 9; and Wednesday, Sept. 10, at the Fraser Gallery, 7700 Wisconsin Ave., Suite E, Bethesda. Free. (301) 718-9651.

Louis Jacobson

© Copyright 2003 Washington City Paper