Charlie Hyman: Pictures that warrant a closer look

Yamhill County calendar: Besides the landscape photographer’s Newberg show, the summer promises theater, music, and poetry

Since 2013, the Chehalem Cultural Center has hired Wilsonville photographer Charlie Hyman to shoot major events, but this month in the Main Gallery, Hyman’s photography is the event. The show, Dimensions, already has proven popular — in less than three weeks, eight of the reasonably priced pieces on display have been sold.

I say “on display,” because the exhibit isn’t limited to the 27 on the wall; each bears a QR code you can scan with your phone, and another half-dozen or more pop up for you to admire. Trust me, the “extras” are worth looking at. With more than a few, I wondered why an image I saw on my tiny iPhone screen wasn’t on the wall. All told, there are around 200 photographs to take in, and they’re all beautiful.

Hyman’s show features mostly landscape photography, shot over a decade around Oregon and Washington, as well as in Hawaii and Scotland.

Photographer Charlie Hyman says he favors out of the way places, such as this landscape in "Glencoe Scotland."
Photographer Charlie Hyman says he favors out-of-the-way places, such as this landscape in “Glencoe Scotland.”

What’s interesting about the collection — well, one thing — is that this isn’t a lineup of the usual Pacific Northwest suspects: Mount Hood, Haystack Rock, Yaquina Bay, etc. Those photographic paths are well-trod, and Hyman prefers the road less traveled. So sure, there’s a few from Silver Falls, but there’s also Humbug Mountain, Harris Beach, Three Fingered Jack, and the Joe Graham Cabin.

“My wife and I travel frequently in our camper, so my camera is always with me as we explore,” Hyman told me. “We generally go to places that are not iconic and are slightly out of the way.  Not only do we prefer fewer crowds, but, from a photographer’s point of view, I come back with pictures from places that are not instantly recognizable and therefore might warrant a closer look.”

The most striking “not instantly recognizable” shot is a piece titled Glencoe Scotland, which features a single home, nestled in a patch of trees in a glen framed by mountains and an ominously dark sky. Although surely a road or path leads to the house, it is hidden by the curvature of the glen, giving the appearance that the house is the only sign of civilization in an otherwise untamed wilderness.

Additionally, Hyman has enhanced some of the photos with effects that highlight objects and/or movement. Several are in 3D, an effect obviously captured afterward in the lab. Others are done in-camera. For example, he used an extreme wide-angle lens to get a shot of the beach at Manzanita at an exposure of half a second. With the camera inches away from grass and rocks, the stream just a few feet away appears in a soft blur that captures the water’s movement. But the exposure isn’t slow enough to have the same effect on the stream closer to the ocean, or the waves.

In "Manzanita," Charlie Hyman has accentuated the movement of water over rocks. “Photography has enhanced my awareness of my environment,” Hyman says.
In “Manzanita,” Charlie Hyman has accentuated the movement of water over rocks. “Photography has enhanced my awareness of my environment,” Hyman says.

“Photography has enhanced my awareness of my environment,” Hyman says in the show notes.  “I am captivated by interesting light, patterns, contrasts, and shapes, making me much more observant of and connected to the world around me, noticing details that might otherwise be overlooked.” 

The show runs through July 31. By the way, masks are still required at the Chehalem Center, but they’re back to normal operating hours, open Tuesday through Saturday.

Elsewhere in Yamhill County and in the Willamette Valley, there’s a stirring to indicate we’re moving toward a post-pandemic reopening. Gallery Theater on Sunday finished the run of its first on-stage show since February 2020 and has mapped out the rest of the year. Here’s a fast look at other live entertainment in store for summer:

You’ll find Poetry (and music) in the Park this Thursday, courtesy of local poet Bethany Lee, who has a new collection out, Etude for Belonging. The poet-musician will read from her work and perform at 6 p.m. in McMinnville’s Lower City Park, 140 NW Park Drive. Lee will be on Zoom, too, but you’ll need to register.

In Beaverton, the Experience Theatre Project has announced its return to live theater with a production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) on Wednesday on the south lawn of the city library. The show then goes on the road for a tour that will take it through Washington, Yamhill, and Marion counties.

In Newberg, the Chehalem Cultural Center this week kicks off the first of three outdoor concerts, with the Portlandia Brass Ensemble on Friday, followed by the Resonance Ensemble in July, and some of Portland’s finest cellists in August.

In Salem, Pentacle Theatre isn’t ready to have an audience indoors yet, but in the meantime they are doing theater. Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, adapted by Emily Loberg, is a “pay-what-you-can” Zoom production that runs through June 20. Register online, or call 503-485-4300 for more information.

Circling back to Yamhill County, the Aquilon Music Festival has finally figured the summer out with a limited-capacity series of outdoor winery concerts of Songs of Love and Passion in Russian, Yiddish and Ladino. Some are sold out, but as of this writing tickets remain for performances in St. Paul and Dallas.

ARTS JOURNAL: I wrote a short reflection about Roger Ebert, the legendary Chicago film critic who died in 2013, and threw it up on Medium.com, where I’ve started posting personal writing occasionally. On Twitter, I shared it with his widow, Chaz, not really expecting acknowledgement beyond clicking a friendly “like.” In fact, Chaz thanked me with a personal note and asked if she could post at Ebert’s still vibrant and useful website. Of course, I said yes. You can read it here.

About the author

David Bates is an award-winning Oregon journalist with more than 20 years as a newspaper editor and reporter in the Willamette Valley, covering virtually every topic imaginable and with a strong background in arts/culture journalism. He has lived in Yamhill County since 1996 and is currently a freelance writer whose clients have included the McMinnville News-RegisterOregon Wine Press, and Indulge, a food-oriented publication. He has a B.S. degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and a long history of involvement in the theater arts, acting and on occasion directing for Gallery Players of Oregon and other theaters in Oregon.

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