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Delanoy's photographs depict protected parkland

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Photo by Wanda Jackson. Geoff Delanoy's photographs depict constantly changing terrain and the impact of elements upon land.

Photo by Wanda Jackson. Geoff Delanoy's photographs depict constantly changing terrain and the impact of elements upon land.

Published on: Thursday, December 08, 2011

By Wanda Jackson

Geoff Delanoy’s photographs depicting California’s Point Reyes National Seashore, a 100-square-mile protected parkland established by former President John F. Kennedy in 1962, is the subject of an exhibit at Montpelier Arts Center through Dec.31.

Point Reyes National Seashore, located on the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County, Calif., is about an hour north of San Francisco and an hour south of the Napa-Sonoma wine country, and it begins approximately 25 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. It was voted one of the 10 most beautiful places in America by ABC’s Good Morning America viewers.

Delanoy’s exhibit titled “Fugitive Landscapes” hangs in the art center’s Library Gallery. The exhibit features 18 black-and-white photographs that show the parkland’s constantly changing terrain.

“Being from the east coast, I was taken aback by the landscape,” said Delanoy, who lives in Baltimore. “They (the photographs) interpret the topography and the constant flux of the environment and the impact of the elements upon the landscape.

“The images describe the cumulative impact of nature and address the transient elements of the landscape. The topography is in a state of constant change whether it is gradual, like erosion, or more fleeting, like a tide pool.”

Delanoy made the photographs for this exhibit with a modified Holga camera.

“As a photographer, I am interested in the way that the camera records time,” he said.

Made in China, the Holga is a medium format 120-film toy camera that is known for its low-fidelity aesthetic and dream-like images. The Holga’s low-cost construction and simple meniscus lens often yields pictures that display vignetting, blur, light leaks and other distortions. The camera’s limitations have brought it a cult following among some photographers, and Holga photos have won awards and competitions in art and news photography.

The Point Reyes Peninsula has long baffled geologists. Geologically, it is a land in motion. The Peninsula sits high on the eastern edge of the Pacific plate, which creeps northwestward about two inches a year. The slower moving North American plate travels westward. In Olema Valley, near Bear Valley Visitor Center, the North American and Pacific plates grind together along the San Andreas Fault Zone. This fault zone contains many large and small faults running parallel and at odd angles to one another. Because neither plate can move freely, tremendous pressures build up. From time to time this pressure becomes too great, and the surface actually moves. This is what happened in the earthquake of 1906 when the Peninsula leaped 20 feet northwestward.

Sides of the peninsula are intermittently edged by beaches, sea cliffs and intertidal zones cascading into the Pacific Ocean. Encircled by this rich assemblage is a mosaic of ecosystems arranged by factors such as geologic foundation, climate and exposure.

Delanoy is an associate professor and chair of the art department at Notre Dame of Maryland University. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in photography and digital imaging from the Maryland Institute College of Art. His work typically includes photography, digital imaging and video installation. He has exhibited nationally in venues such as the Photo Fest in Michigan, the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, and the Vermont Photography Workplace.

For additional details about Delanoy’s photographic exhibit, call the Montpelier Arts Center at 301-953-1993 or visit Montpelier Arts Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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