April 23, 2004: Headlines: Photography: Exhibits: Museums: Third Goal: The John Hopins Newsletter: Peace Corps exhibit is not worth the trip

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: April 2004 Peace Corps Headlines: April 23, 2004: Headlines: Photography: Exhibits: Museums: Third Goal: The John Hopins Newsletter: Peace Corps exhibit is not worth the trip

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-69-95.balt.east.verizon.net - on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 5:25 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps exhibit is not worth the trip

Peace Corps exhibit is not worth the trip

Peace Corps exhibit is not worth the trip

Peace Corps exhibit is not worth the trip

By Devra Goldberg

April 23, 2004
"Photographs taken by Peace Corps volunteers all over the world" at a place called Bandaloops "gallery" sounds like a really cool show. It brought to mind images of intense black-and-whites or bright colors depicting exotic locales and natives and experiences and who only knows what, all unique to a Peace Corps trip.

First things first.

Turns out Bandaloops isn't a gallery, it's a bar and a restaurant - a pretty nice-looking one, from what I could tell. The staff was friendly and didn't seem to mind anybody wandering aimlessly about the terrace to see the photographs, taken by Michael Kresko. I can't say definitively whether or not Kresko was a Peace Corps volunteer or not, but his photographs did hail from exotic locales such as China and the Russian Far East.

"Baby Bird" was one of the images that immediately caught the eye - and drew me in even more after seeing the title penciled in under the mat. A young boy in a beautiful yellow vest is standing, with his mouth open, over a Styrofoam container as his mother feeds him noodles dangling off of a pair of chopsticks.

The yellow is bright and vibrant, and I could almost taste the grease that coated the noodles. Kresko made excellent use of a short depth-of-field, which is to say that the image is squarely focused on the boy and the chopsticks, while the rest of the background blurs into a pleasant mix of color.

Another great attention-grabbing image was "Vase of Flowers," which, while it does not feature a portrait per se, uses a similar style as "Baby Bird." Again, Kresko really utilizes his short depth-of-field for maximum effect and the titular vase is sharp and colorful.

The problem with most of Kresko's imagery is that it is either too dark, to no effect, too blurred, or simply not interesting. What would have been an excellent portrait of a "Seychelles Fisherman," for example, is marred by the large dark space occupying the entire bottom right of the image. The photograph captures a moment and the colors are brilliant and engaging, but it's a struggle for the viewer to take his or her eyes off of the large dark blob.

Kresko is not the only featured photographer in the exhibit, although the others fare little better than he did despite their more abstract use of black and white. Rachel and Seth Scharon seem to have more of an affinity for bridges, landscapes and other still subjects. Many of their images, such as "Morning Tree" or "Railway Bridge," are bland and lack elements that would make an imprint on the mind. Furthermore, titles such as these do little to enhance the photographs.

Two images did manage to leave a positive lasting impression. The first, entitled "Impending Horizon," was a distorted landscape of a cemetery. The contrast is excellent and the rows of tombstones are mesmerizing. The horizon itself is on an angle, and the photographer - Rachel - used a wide-angle lens to further distort the image. She also did some collage/montage work, taking images of an old woman's profile, a desert landscape, and what could be text from a diary to create an image she calls "Quest."

The three images that seemed to be the most intriguing were, ironically, the three that were impossible to see close-up. The show's designers unwisely chose to adorn the high wall above the restaurant's staircase with several photographs, so all that was perceptible was an impression of two portraits, both of a woman, and something that could have been a time exposure or a reflection.

My advice - if you're on your way to party in Federal Hill, head down a bit early and check out the restaurant. The venue and the photographs seem worth at least that much time but personally, I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to find them.

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Story Source: The John Hopins Newsletter

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Photography; Exhibits; Museums; Third Goal



By michael kresko (dialup- - on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 2:46 pm: Edit Post

Wow! It's amazing what happens when you google yourself these days. Thanks for your review...I think.

First, I am an RPCV (Seychelles, '94-'95; Russian Far East, '95-'97). I had a biography hanging somewhere in the restaurant. I'm sure it was difficult to find with all of the other junk stuff in the place.

Second, the restaurant was only an "ok" venue. The lighting was poor in general and viewing photos for any length of time above a couple trying to have a romantic dinner can be a little discerning to the diners.

Baltimore Art Exposure is a great program that allows amateur artists to show their work at participating venues. These are usually restaurants or cafes but can also be empty store fronts, rooms or hallways in hotels or other random businesses.

Finally, the photos were 35 mm blown up to 11x14inch size. If the bio were found that may have helped explain some of the graininess.



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