Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Foretaste of Abstract Wonderland

They met in second grade in Little Falls, MN and have been friends for a lifetime. As young adults both served their country, Barry Opatz in Viet Nam and Randy Jarvis in the MN National Guard. Barry was introduced to 35mm cameras in Nam and shared his photography interest with his friend. While their life paths were divergent their friendship never diminished, especially their mutual interest in photography. Though they lived in different states they enjoyed those opportunities when they could share their pictures with one another.

One day Randy called to tell Barry about this amazing place he’d found. “He called it an ‘abstract wonderland.’” Barry says. “After he emailed me samples I knew a photo trip was in the works.”

They shot together over a weekend. “As we shared the resulting images with people the response was very positive which led to a gallery show and a photo book I put together on Blurb. This is a joint project so we share in our efforts to get this work out there for people to enjoy, and of course the investment.”

The project can best be described as a combination of "found art" and imagination. The site was a mother lode of fabulous images. Randy said that it was amazing to find so many great images and shots within such a finite space.

I have been sworn to secrecy as regards the location somewhere here in the upper Midwest, an old rail yard with train cars in various stages of disrepair. These two friends spent three sessions on the site and produced more than a thousand fabulous images.

Today over lunch I held in my hands the book they produced. It’s a bit expensive per copy but they’re working on finding a way to reduce expenses so they can sell copies to the many people who have expressed interest.

“The magic seems to be that everyone sees something different in each image. It's a self discovery type experience.”

If this project interests you, send a note to randyjarvis at centurytel dot net or bopatz2 at charter dot net. It’s a great story and their work is indeed magical.

Upper right: Barry Opatz (L) and Randy Jarvis (R)
Tomorrow I will share several more images here.

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