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Capturing Vashon's wild beauty
By EIZABETH SHEPHERD
Back Bay Inn and its new Quartermaster Pub will be the scene of a sweeping exhibition of photographs shot at Wolftown, Vashon’s nonprofit sanctuary and rehabilitation facility for rescued wolves, horses, birds of prey and other wild creatures.
The exhibit will open with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19. It will remain on view through mid-January.
Wolftown’s founder and executive director, T Martino Yamamoto, will be in attendance with a special guest of honor — a bird of prey that lives at Wolftown.
The evening will also feature live music by the Vashon band Riverbend. The group will play traditional as well as unique holiday songs and old-time tunes, with instrumentation including banjo, fiddles, mandolins and guitars.
And, of course, there will be an opportunity for Islanders to shop for Wolftown-themed holiday gifts.
Books, note cards, mouse pads and 2009 calendars featuring Wolftown residents — sheep, hawks, owls, horses, sled dogs and wolves — will all be available for purchase, with proceeds going to support Wolftown’s rescue and wildlife programs.
Many of the photographers who have pieces in the exhibit will also be on hand to answer questions about their experiences in creating their shots.
The show will include framed and unframed works by Island photographers Ray Pfortner and Robert Teagardin, as well as images captured by photography students Georgia Galus, Victoria Goodhope, Randolph I. Gordon, Jeff Lou, Raymond Martinez, Richard von Kleinsmid and Valerie Roberts.
“Most of the photographers have generously contributed their photography to the 2008 and 2009 Wolftown calendars,” said Pfortner. “All of us have enjoyed the generous gift of time, insight and access from T Martino.”
Pfortner explained that many of the photographs in the show, and on Wolftown’s 2009 calendar, came from his students in three Vashon Allied Arts photography classes.
He led the first group of students to Wolftown last spring, as part of a field trip for his class, “Shoot to Show: The Animals of Vashon-Maury Island.” That group photographed animals on the Island for three months, culminating in a juried group show at The Hardware Store Restaurant’s gallery in June.
The second group, all teenagers, went to Wolftown in August as part of Pfortner’s VAA Teen Photo Camp.
The third group, students in Pfortner’s “The Art and Craft of Photography” class, trekked to Wolftown to practice capturing motion by photographing Wolftown resident NiWah, a red-tailed hawk.
“No one who visits Wolftown can forget the image of wolves among the fir trees right here on Vashon, the incredible sound of wolves howling right here on Vashon as they once did throughout the Northwest,” Pfortner said.
Martino Yamamoto said she was appreciative of the visits from the photography students. “I don’t take very good photographs,” she said.
Wolftown was founded in 1997 by Martino Yamamoto. It is a nonprofit organization and is designated as a federal and state wildlife and education facility.
The facility is operated by Martino Yamamoto and her husband Pete Yamamoto, along with a cadre of interns from Vashon and around the world.
Wolftown’s programs include a youth mentorship program that uses rescued domestic animals such as sled dogs, horses and sheep to teach compassion, empathy and sustainable agriculture and forestry.
Wolftown also does non-invasive field studies of big predators in the Northwest.
To learn more the organization, visit www.wolftown.org.