County photographers to show work on Shepherdstown
The Jefferson County Photography project will host an exhibit in honor of the 250-year anniversary of Shepherdstown.
The project, which is sponsored by grants from AHA and the WV Commission on the Arts, is an effort to use traditional black and white photography and film to tell the story of the local community.
For its third year, the group decided to concentrate its body of work on Shepherdstown as a way to celebrate the town’s history.
According to the group’s leader, Benita Keller, the photography project began after local artist Marianne Pernold Young asked that the proceeds from the sale of her work be used to fund a film photography program in Jefferson County.
Local photographer Benita Keller was asked to teach the program’s workshops and lead students through the use of black and white film and its black room development.
Keller operates the Cecil Arnold Darkroom, sponsored by the Historic Shepherdstown Commission and located in the cellar of the Entler Hotel and has continued to shoot in and teach film photography despite the emergence and prevalence of digital.
“The concept of Kodak black and white film is going to be obsolete,” she said.
Keller said that the group’s work is unique in its commitment to traditional fine art still photography.
“It’s about keeping the traditional photography still functioning as an art,” she said.
Using Kodak Tri- X, a black and white film that has recently stopped being produced, the group has spent the past several months chronicling various events and people around town for the special exhibit and a special edition book of photos in honor of the 250th.
Keller said the group was asked to produce the book by AHA after a larger book sold so successfully last year.
“That was so exciting, AHA wanted us to do a smaller book,” she said.
The smaller book, which will be featured for sale at the exhibit, will include candid event shots, street photography and even some portraits, shot exclusively in Shepherdstown.
“It’s a wide variety,” she said.
The group holds two exhibitions each year. The first in honor of Shepherdstown will be held Oct. 6 through 28 at the Bridge Gallery located just outside of town. An opening reception will be held on Oct. 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and a “Gallery Talk” with the photographers will be held on Oct. 14 from 2 to 4 p.m.