Monday, November 10, 2008

Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge

Through January 11

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I’m going to need a lot more room. For what is about to be discussed contains 200 of them—pictures, that is. And I should know, my lovely artist companion and I counted them…twice.

As we strolled, wide-eyed, through the corridors of the Portland Art Museum ( passing baroque oils, Picasso prints and motley lithographs, the faint sound of a pleased crowd softly echoed between the walls and open space of the second floor passageways. We followed this sound, which, to our surprising delight, led to the Wild Beauty exhibit — a 90 year photo-survey of the Columbia River Gorge, spanning from 1867–1957.

The work of photographers such as landscape genius Carlton Watkins and railway pioneer Frank J. Haynes display the magnificence etched in the ever-changing face of the Columbia River. As you’ll learn from the exhibition, their work was quite innovative in the field of photography, from their choice in camera and developing methods to the contextual fabric of the photos themselves. By combining nature and industry, creation and destruction, and the vast scope of extraordinary land, the photographs render an impact on their observers that leave them rapt in the overwhelming power of time.

The show runs until January 11th of next year. General admission to the museum is $10 for adults, $9 if you are a student or senior and free if you are under the age of 17. But keep in mind, given all the fantastic works that can be found in our beloved Museum, the Wild Beauty exhibit alone is worth the price of admission.

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