On The Road: Montana; Big Sky Means Big Photography Page 2
A native of Wisconsin, Nelson Kenter lives in Missoula and on his straightforward website has gathered images into seven different galleries. I dropped into his Landscapes gallery first and was not disappointed. Inside there are eight (count ’em) collections ranging from Hills and Grasslands to Wilderness Areas and each is filled with images of natural beauty captured by Kenter’s sure hand and unerring eye for composition and the interplay of natural light. Don’t miss his images in the Natural Parks collection that has outstanding photographs of what I think is our most spectacular national park—Glacier. The Nature gallery’s seven collections include Ice and Snow that features the quietly elegant “Iceberg Lake.” The Sun, Moon and Clouds collection features many images, including “Foggy Sunrise,” that show how Kenter’s take on nature is a quiet, reserved one and instead of hitting you over the head with color and drama, you can almost feel the quiet in the forest while he was making these photographs. I enjoyed Nelson Kenter’s tour of his adopted town, Missoula, especially the views of a charming downtown. If you’ve considered visiting Montana, don’t miss out on his Recreation gallery showing fun photographs of the many possibilities. You’ll be packing your bags after visiting this collection.
Thomas Lee’s site contains five different portfolios showing breathtaking images of a state noted for breathtaking vistas, something that’s not always so easy to capture on film or silicone. Lee’s Montanascapes are different than what you might expect and are an elegant testimonial both to the concept of Big Sky and the freedom Montanans seem to treasure. You can especially see that in portraits in his Montanans portfolio where the faces—young and old—are beautifully captured by an incredibly talented photographer who’s equally at home photographing a herd of deer as he is the people who populate this
In Natural Textures, Lee embraces the monochrome aesthetic with powerful photographs that have an equally powerful sense of place and demonstrate why I picked Montana to be the first state featured in this series. His “Faces of Wisdom” series also contains portraits, but here they’re displayed in a movie format consisting of sensitive color portraits of older Montanans accompanied by their words. I hope that this series inspires other photographers to not only document the places they love but the people as well. I’m surprised when people spend time and money restoring old photographs of their grandparents and great-grandparents after they’ve passed away, but little time making snapshots and portraits of them while they’re still alive. Thomas Lee has shown the way; let’s follow in his footsteps.