Wildlife Photography Exhibit Takes Off at LBI Foundation

Jan 30, 2019
Photo by: Joan Phillips ‘Beach Resident’ by Joan Phillips.

The Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies brings together the sciences and art in its new “Wild_Life Photography” exhibit.

Gallery director Becca Phillips said the Science Saturdays programs at the Foundation this year focus on subjects close to home such as terrapins, shellfish and bird life that make the area a wildlife hotspot for photography. “This is what is hidden in our environment, and if you wait long enough, you’ll see it,” she said. Wildlife photographers are well known for their patience and, naturally, for their love of nature.

She searched images by New Jersey photographers on Instagram and didn’t have to go far for names such as Jim Verhagan, a contributor to The SandPaper, Christopher Smith, represented by The Coen Gallery in Surf City, Ryan Morrill, photo editor for The SandPaper, and others. “Most of the 20 photographers in the show knew each other,” she said.

Rutger Hagan is perhaps the newest addition to the group. This is his first exhibit of his large-format photographs. “My goal is to empower the viewer to be able to experience what the world around me was like and what I was feeling, almost as if they were there with me in the moment,” said Hagan in his artist’s statement.

One of the best known area photographers, Albert D. Horner from Medford, has four large format photos of the Pinelands. “My greatest dream is to capture the beauty of the Pinelands and then have those images help preserve it,” he affirms. Horner is a member of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance.

Another photographer who has chosen the Pinelands for his canvas is Christopher Huston, who captured the cranberry harvest in all its red glory.

Another exhibitor is well known to readers of The SandPaper. Ben Wurst and his efforts to raise and protect both ospreys and diamondback terrapins have been featured in these pages. Wurst is the local face of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and he documents his very close encounters with ospreys in his photos, getting close enough to catch the fierce predator face in “Fearless” and “Inquisitive.”

Joan Phillips is a professional with 30 years’ experience in printing and publishing. Her ability to recognize nuances of color make her images special. She aims her camera low for “Beach Resident,” a seaside snail, and then aims it high to capture the sunset on the Causeway Bridge in “Reflections.” When a great egret stretches its wings in the dawn, Philllips is there to catch the splendor of color in “Golden Wings.”

Mike Cassella is just one of the photographers who has been fascinated by the now almost annual appearance of snowy owls on LBI, but his shot of a snowy owl in flight – wings outstretched and coming straight at us – gives us the viewpoint a frightened mouse must have before impact. He also captures surfers, seals and baby foxes.

Shawn Casey “enjoys extremes of cold and different conditions to photography in … that’s when the glory happens.” “St. Patrick’s Gold” and “Cold Front” are two extremes of weather islanders know well.

Matt Reitinger is a surfer who keeps locals apprised of meteorological happenings on social media. He focuses extensively on birdlife; don’t miss the sweet moment in “The Show Off” of a piping plover chick taking a hop away from mom.

A photographer who uses her talents to record her work for conservation is Susan Allen. “With my camera in hand, I chase opportunities to tell the stories of endangered wildlife and the people who are working to protect them.”  Her “Dips and Dots” are a puzzle until you realize these are horseshoe crabs eggs.

“Wild_Life Photography” is on exhibit until March 17 with an artist reception and potluck sponsored by Breaker Zine on Friday, Feb.15 from 5 to 7 p.m.

— Pat Johnson


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