Graeme Simpson giving a talk in the Hollingsworth Gallery in February.
By Courtnye Koivisto, Friends of Patuxent Board Member
Not too far from Patuxent Research Refuge is Buddy Attick Lake Park, a community staple in Greenbelt, Maryland and an excellent place for wildlife viewing. Many photographers frequent the lake in the hopes of capturing some of the lake’s many resident and visiting wildlife, including Osprey, Barred Owls, Great Blue Herons, snapping turtles, Wood Ducks, and Ring-necked Ducks.
The National Wildlife Visitor Center at Patuxent Research Refuge recently hosted an exhibit in its Hollingsworth Gallery showcasing local photographers’ images from Buddy Attick Lake Park. The photographs were extraordinary, capturing the essence of Buddy Attick Lake and its seasonal changes throughout the year. For many of the photographers, this was their first time exhibiting their art and formally sharing it with the community. Graeme Simpson, an established and renowned nature photographer, coordinated the exhibit and gave insight into what it takes to organize a photography show. While the show was on display in February, Graeme gave a talk every Saturday about how it came together.
Graeme saw this exhibition as an essential opportunity for amateur photographers to build confidence in their work. Many of the photographers have been visiting the lake for years, but never had the opportunity to formally display their work in a gallery setting. Graeme worked with the photographers to create a cohesive show that best presented the diverse wildlife of Buddy Attick Lake while still highlighting each photographer’s unique style.
To help make this initial exposure easy and inclusive, Graeme made sure to keep the material requirements simple and straightforward. He shared that frames could be low-cost, photos could be from point-and-shoot cameras, and that prints didn’t have to be a specific size. These low-entry barriers were also important as a way to bring community members to the show since those were easier to relate to and recognize. To this point, Graeme made sure to include species that were both familiar to viewers and ones that are more unique to the area.
Once the photographs were ready and the gallery reserved, Graeme worked on publicizing the exhibition and building rapport with local newspapers and journalists. The Greenbelt News Review was indispensable for promoting this exhibition, especially since many of the photographers share and publish their photos in the paper. Getting the word out and sharing this exhibition made it a huge success. Overall, the exhibition’s works were captivating, and visitors relished the details and spectrum of colors these community photographers were able to express.
The photographers featured in the exhibition were: Kathryn Beard, Ken Briefel, Gary Brown, Gloria Brown, Rebecca Cagle, Bill Cornett, David Crissinger, Suzanne Flynn, Michael Garcia, Kevin Higgins, Charles Chuck James, Mike Kilberg, Mick Morgan, Ken Nguyen, Marc Siegel, Graeme Simpson, Bruce Smith, Tom Statas, Wade Stephen, Viad Tchompalov, Amy Wenzel, and Andrea Zukowski.
To learn more about Graeme’s work, please visit Graeme Simpson Images.
If you are interested in learning more about the John Hollingsworth Art Gallery at the Visitor Center, please contact Gallery Coordinator Mary Ann Hartnett at email@example.com.