overall prize in river art contest
contests goal was to
highlight the importance of bridge
Lela Jane Bradshaw
(December 2010) When artist Theresa Strohl
left her beloved West Coast kicking and screaming and moved
to southern Indiana, she became determined to teach herself to see her
new environment in a more positive light. During her first years living
in the Midwest, she explains that a lot of my photography was
about getting to know the area.
And despite her reluctance, I did end up falling in love with
the place. It is outstanding.
by Lela Bradshaw
Strohl has made a living
with her camera since moving to
southern Indiana from her native
California. Her photo (below) of
the Milton-Madison Bridge in the
fog won a recent bridge art contest.
As part of her project to change her perspective on her
surroundings, Strohl makes a point of going out on gray, gloomy days
and challenging herself to find something beautiful. She describes photography
as learning to see learning to be exciting about what
you are seeing.
Each of my pictures describes a moment in time that stopped me,
filed me with wonder, took my breath away, she says in her artist
Strohls ability to find unique visions of beauty in her adopted
hometown of Madison was rewarded Oct. 28 when her photo was chosen by
judges as the winning entry in the Bridging the River Art Contest. The
contest was sponsored by the Madison Main Street Program and the Artisans
Gallery as a way to get artists involved in promoting Madison and the
bridge. River Valley Financial contributed $150 in prize money, and
Artisans Gallery owner Bob Maile created the plaques presented
to the winners in four categories.
Other winners included Larry Rudolech, painting/drawing, Eric Phagan,
sculpture, and Barbara Dixon Walters for poetry/writing. The contest
attracted more than 40 entries from Madison and surrounding areas, with
the winners chosen by a popular vote from visitors to the Artisans
Gallery. While many different works attracted a strong following from
viewers, Maile notes that Strohls piece, was actually a
run away winner when it came to counting votes for the overall
The winning shot came from a series of pictures Strohl took on a kayaking
trip on the river. She began her journey early one morning and shot
the whole time. She vividly recalls the fog rising up saying it
was just a beautiful day. Her shot under the bridge gave
her a unique angle rarely experienced even by those who see the bridge
every day. Contest co-organizer Bob Saueressig describes appeal of the
picture highlighting the simplicity of the colors together
with the ripples in the water, the reflection, the blue sky just
a beautiful photograph. He finds the overall effect of the shot
to be a very dramatic and peaceful looking photo combination.
While Strohl laughs that the winning picture was not her favorite of
the ones she took that day, she acknowledges that its the
one that most people have commented on. It spoke to more people.
She finds that part of the fun of displaying her work is watching
people respond to one print over another.
While Strohls appreciates the quiet, personal time she spends
shooting landscape and nature pictures, she also enjoys the interactions
with people that result from those photos. When she sets up work for
sale, she always tries to have some small pieces that are affordable
to people just beginning their art collections. I try to make
them accessible. Ive even had kids come buy them.
She enjoys the conversations that her pictures tend to spark. I
get to hear so many stories about peoples lives. I love that part,
Strohl spent years as a potter and sculptor, and believes that this
background works to make her photography even stronger. I can
still see some of the sculpture influence in the photography,
Maile explains that her composition is just really good. It seems
that she is just in the right place at the right time.
So while this California girl may not have dreamed of living on an Indiana
river as a child, photography lovers will certainly agree that she wound
up in the right place after all.
Theresa Strohls photography can be
seen at the Artisans Gallery, 325 E. Main St., Madison. Strohl also
sets up at the indoor Madison Farmers Market, located in the former
Kernens Hardware Store, 303 W. Main St., from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Back to December 2010