Arts and Entertainment

‘Shoot to Show’ exhibit opens at Hardware Store

High school students took some of the best shots, including this in Ray Pfortner’s recent class. - Above, “Residents of Sea Breeze  Farm”  © Travis Eberle and right, “Sled Dog at Wolftown” © Sam Veatch
High school students took some of the best shots, including this in Ray Pfortner’s recent class.
— image credit: Above, “Residents of Sea Breeze Farm” © Travis Eberle and right, “Sled Dog at Wolftown” © Sam Veatch

This spring, Island photographer Ray Pfortner offered what he called the most challenging installment of his popular “Shoot to Show” classes at Vashon Allied Arts. The subject matter and theme were the animals of Vashon-Maury Island.

The four-legged, furry and feathered fruit of Pfortner’s class will be seen in a juried group show at The Hardware Store Restaurant, opening from 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, June 6. The exhibit includes 45 photographs.

Subjects range from the wolves and birds of prey at Wolftown, to sheep and chickens at Island farms, to many of the Island’s wild birds and domesticated pets.

Pfortner has offered five earlier versions of the “Shoot to Show” class, which teaches not only how to take better photographs but also how to price, frame and exhibit the results. According to Pfortner, only one previous class rivaled this one for the degree of difficulty in subject matter — photographing Mount Ranier from Vashon in a spring when the mountain almost never showed itself over three months of shooting.

The challenge this time was not so much to find the animals, but to interpret and capture a decisive moment with a subject always in motion.

Fifteen people took the class, including three high school students, Travis Eberle, Jeffrey Lou, and Sam Veatch. The students were all recipients of David Webster Photography scholarships. These scholarships honor the memory of David Webster, father of Vashon photographer Kathleen Webster and an avid photographer himself, best known for his photographs of flowers. After David died last year, his family and friends established the scholarship fund to encourage and cultivate the next generation of photographers.

Pfortner warned the class at the outset that the participation of the teenagers was a major challenge to the 12 adults taking part. According to exhibit organizers, his warning was accurate — the teens’ results were among the most experimental and most successful of the final images taken.

The exhibit, juried by Kathleen and Joan Webster, Melinda Sontgerath and Pfortner, will remain on view at The Hardware Store throughout June.

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