MCCOOK COMMUNITY COLLEGE students in Rick Johnson’s (center back) drawing class examine a photograph from the current Peter Brown/Kent Haruf exhibit on display at the Wrightstone Gallery through Feb. 14. Students include: (from left) Kelsey Karr, Jessica Geihsler, Whitni Davis, Skye Buechner, Amber Hilker and Chris Swasta.
Great Plains photos on display through Feb. 14
Patrons of the arts have two weeks left to see the works of photographer whose work has been showcased on both coasts and remains a highly-sought out artist. Peter Brown’s landscapes and images of small town Great Plains life have been displayrf in New York, Los Angeles, Houston and San Francisco.
The exhibit titled “West of Last Chance” is on display at the Wrightstone Gallery through Feb. 14. It is a collaboration with the novelist Kent Haruf and won the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize.
Brown, a photographer of the American plains, collaborated with author Haruf to create the “West of Last Chance” exhibition. The display was derived from their book of the same title, and it depicts the landscape and emotion of life on the plains.
For every photograph that Brown displays, Haruf accompanies it with descriptive writing. Brown has been photographing the plains for more than 25 years, while Haruf’s books have received awards such as the Whiting Foundation Award and the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award.
In one of his early entries in the book Haruf writes of the High Plains: “You have to know how to look at this country. You have to slow down. It isn’t pretty, but it’s beautiful."
Haruf said he first met Peter at the Brazos Bookstore in Houston in the fall of 1999.
“It was there he gave me a copy of his book of photographs On the Plains, and I was so taken by the beauty and clarity of the photographs that I asked my publisher to hire him to take a photograph for the cover of my next book,” Haruf said. “They did—and we went out onto the High Plains together, where he made a beautiful image of a little town at dusk in northeastern Colorado while I stood around watching him work.”
That was the beginning of a close friendship and the start of the collaboration on this book.
“We wanted to present a view of the plains, in a manner and a form that had not been done before. We set about working on the book separately: I wrote a number of short pieces; Peter made more of his beautiful photographs,” Haruf said.
They met in Limon, Colo., and ranged out from there—driving across the great flat treeless country, looking at the open pastures and the wide stretches of farmland, driving around in the familiar little towns, turning onto the main streets and heading up the back alleys, talking to people and listening to them, and always looking at the way the light fell on everything, seeing again and again how everything stood up so precisely and cast such shadows in that clear light.
They met for a number of days in that way, at varying seasons of the year, and different lighting situations. Their travels and exhibit include several Nebraska scenes.
The Wrightstone Gallery is open from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Tuesdays until 9 p.m.
Starting on Feb. 17, the gallery will showcase Max photographer Bill Coe.