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Nobles County Art Center to host photography exhibit

Photographers (from left) Paul Swanson, Patrick Boe and Randy Sands are shown Tuesday at the Nobles County Art Center. Photographers Deb McConnell (windmill) and and Bob Stoesz (winding path) are also represented in the upcoming new exhibit. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County Art Center in Worthington will host an opening reception Friday featuring the works of local photographers.

The exhibit, titled “Mindfulness through the Lens” focuses on — according to featured photographer Paul Swanson — “awareness of surroundings (and) framing the scene in front of you.”

Swanson, Patrick Boe, Randy Sands, Bob Stoesz and Deb McConnell will have their photographs on display through mid-February.

Boe started taking pictures as a teenager and is self-taught. He received a 35-mm camera as a high school graduation present after developing his craft working for the yearbook. Later, he switched to digital photography.

Boe said he likes to find just the right composition for the moment, and particularly enjoys photographing sunsets and wildlife. He says his art is one way that he shows appreciation for God’s gift of life.

Swanson earned his bachelor’s degree in art education. Originally he was a painter, but painting quickly took up a lot of space.

In an effort to downsize, Swanson took up photography, first shooting landscapes and gradually moving to closer-up shots. He’s interested particularly in new angles and loves being “in the moment” as he searches for just the right shot.

Sands was introduced to photography by his dad. He worked for the student newspaper in high school and for one year at St. Cloud State University. During that time he looked up to Joe Rossi, a Globe photographer, and feels inspired by him to this day.

Among other artistic role models for these exhibited artists is Luverne native and former Globe photographer Jim Brandenburg, as well as his colleagues at National Geographic.

These artists have spent decades honing their craft and hope visitors to the exhibit will love their work. Sands, for his part, wants people to look at his pictures and ask, “How did he get that shot?”

Boe agreed that it feels good when the public recognizes his talent. Swanson said he hopes his audience reacts to his work with “peace, relaxation, joy, wonderment and nostalgia.”

The artists offered some words of encouragement for aspiring photographers.

Swanson advised, “Just keep shooting,” adding that new photographers will save themselves some work if they can learn to crop while shooting — for example, by moving over a little to eliminate a light pole or fence post from the shot.

Boe offered this advice: “Consider (photography) an art form, and do what you choose.” In other words, don’t let anyone tell you how your art should look. Develop your own vision.

Sands added that it helps to ask yourself questions. Look for ways to improve the angles or the lighting. Keep challenging yourself to get better.

Nobles County Art Center’s “Mindfulness Through the Lens” show will have an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday. After that, it will run from noon to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, through Feb. 22. Prints will also be for sale.