News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Arts

February 28, 2013

Through His Lens: Artist showcases beauty of America’s southwest at Rose-Hulman exhibition

TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute native Darrell Staggs never thought of himself as an artist, but always liked the idea of photography.

In the later stages of his career as an engineer with Eli Lilly and Co., and after raising his family, Staggs started taking photographs while traveling. He paid close attention to the textures and perspective in natural scenery, especially rock formations found in regions of America’s southwest.

Staggs, a 1974 graduate of Terre Haute South Vigo High School who went on to earn a chemical engineering degree from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 1978, gets his artistic inspiration from Henry David Thoreau’s statement: “It’s not what you look at, but what you see.”

Nineteen of Staggs’ dazzling photographs are featured in Rose-Hulman’s spring exhibition on the second floor of Moench Hall through May 27. The exhibit also includes photographs by Wabash Valley artists, other photographers and Rose-Hulman alumni on the first floor of Moench Hall, and throughout nearby Myers Hall.

“I have learned that it takes more than just holding down the (camera) button, and I still have a lot to learn,” said Staggs about his budding photographic skills. “My photos used to look like they were taken by an engineer, which they were. They always had to be symmetrical and focused.”

Then, he learned more about composition, and a whole new artistic world opened through his camera lens.

Three of Staggs’ photographs showcase the beauty of Pool Canyon in Lake Powell, Utah. The canyon has a pool of water that is sheltered from any wind, making it a perfect mirror for the canyon walls lit by the late afternoon sun. The images can be viewed normally or upside down.

When viewed in normal orientation, the reflection is interesting, but lacks a visual challenge. So, Staggs has turned some of the images upside down, which becomes obvious when you notice the dirt and rocks and grass in the “sky.” This flipping technique creates a new visual illusion.

In fact, one part of Staggs’ exhibit features two photographs that depict the same image of a hiker who appears to be walking at the base of a canyon wall, with his “reflection” under him. Both images look “right,” and you have to look closely to find out the original from the flipped image.

“This is perhaps my favorite image and view of all taken on the trip. Even though I know the image well, and have looked at it hundreds of times, it remains an elusive illusion,” said Staggs, an associate engineering adviser at Eli Lilly’s Pharma Engineering Tech Center. He lives in Mooresville with his wife, Patti, another Terre Haute native who is secretary of Rose-Hulman’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Staggs’ Pool Canyon photographs required careful use of a polarizing filter to help control reflections, while also helping to enhance other aspects of the scene. A polarizer filter is one “effect” that cannot be duplicated or added through photo-editing software; it must be in place when the photo is taken.

“I don’t use Photoshop, only cropping and an occasional click of the ‘auto-contrast’ button in Picasa,” stated Staggs about his photographic techniques. “There are some really cool possibilities using High Dynamic Range techniques that I would like to learn, but that is cheating.”

Other photographers featured in Rose-Hulman’s spring exhibition include Spencer Young, a retired geologic engineer who captured images of rock and mineral formations through varying seasons and light at Parke County’s Turkey Run State Park. These photos can be found throughout the first floor of Moench Hall.

Alexandra McNichols Torroledo, a visiting adjunct Spanish professor, provides a revealing look at the plight of indigenous groups in her native Colombia through photographs on the first floor of Myers Hall.

Also, Rose-Hulman graduate student Rose Ann Haft has brought together a special “Living Branches” collection of images on the second floor of Moench Hall by six photographers that showcase the natural and human communities along the Peruvian Amazon River Basin. Several of the images were taken by Rose-Hulman alumnus Isaac Sachs. Proceeds from any sale of this collection’s photographs will support sustainability projects in the Amazon new forest.

A reception to recognize some of the artists involved with the spring exhibition is being planned for March 28, from 4:30 to 7 p.m., on the second floor of Moench Hall.

All photographs are available for public viewing from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, contact Rose-Hulman Coordinator of Art Programs/Art Curator Steve Letsinger at 812-877-8452.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Arts
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Israel Deploys Ground Troops to Gaza Strip Bull Run Comes to Middle America Raw: Divers, Snorkelers at Undersea 'Concert' Space Station Shipment Launched From Virginia Lightning Kills Two in National Park in Colorado Wisconsin Cop Ready to Roll...On Skateboard One Dead, 19 Injured in Greyhound Bus Crash WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Giant Whale Vacuumed in New York City LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Raw: German Players Head to World Cup Final Germany Wins the World Cup 1-0 Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Raw: Violence Mars Argentina's WC Celebration Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues
NDN Video
Germany Wins The 2014 FIFA World Cup!!! RAW VIDEO: Stampede injures ten at Georgia World Congress Center Cellphone Video Shows Assault Tracy Morgan released from rehab month after crash LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity