Picture this - Photo Gang to shoot Black Swamp Arts Festival PDF Print E-mail
Written by By DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor   
Tuesday, 08 September 2009 10:32

Gang_storyThere’s a new gang in town, and members will be prowling the Black Swamp Arts Festival this weekend on the look out for the best photograph.
The Gang of 35, as the project’s instigator Kelly Wicks dubbed the group, is made up of photo enthusiasts from the community who will taking photos throughout the festival.
The Black Swamp Arts Festival gets underway Friday at 5 p.m. with music on the Main Stage behind the 200 block on the east side of Main Street in downtown Bowling Green. The festival continues with music, an art show featuring more than 150 artists and artisans and youth activities, Saturday 10 a.m. to midnight and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The gang members had put up a $30 initiation fee. That secured them a 35mm single lens reflect camera — analog, not digital — and three rolls of film.
“The purpose,” Wicks said, “isn’t to take the prize winning photo of the festival, but for these photo enthusiasts to capture their view of the festival.”
Those shooters range in age from 9 to mid-70s. Everyone will be armed with the same basic style of camera and be using the same film, he said. All will have identification to let visitors, musicians and artists know what they’re up to.

“Everyone sees the festival in their own way,” said John Zibbel, one of the gang members. This will give them a chance to share with others their own particular angle on the annual event.
Some photographers, Wicks said, are starting to think in terms of themes, taking the project a step further than he envisioned.
Wicks said he got the idea for Gang of 35 when he was looking for a camera bag. Searching eBay he discovered he could buy a used bag with a camera in it for the same price as a new bag. That got the spools spinning.
At first he thought about having a dozen photographers, but when he started recruiting people, he had more than a dozen takers. So the gang grew to 17 in honor of the festival’s 17th anniversary. Still not enough. Finally Wicks settled on 35 with the theme: “35 cameras, 35 millimeters, 35 perspectives.”
After the festival he will collect the film and have it developed and printed.
Two judges will look at the work and settle on 40 or 50 to be enlarged into 8-by-10 inch prints. Others will be enlarged to 5-by-7 inch prints.
All these plus hundreds of other smaller prints will be displayed on Nov. 14 at Grounds for Thought, which Wicks and his wife, Laura, own.
Basically the images “will take over the entire space,” he said.
The exhibit will be part of the shop’s 20th anniversary celebration.
Two judges will select one print that will hang in the shop for the entire year.
Even before “The Gang of 35 Shoots the Festival” is complete, Wicks is cooking up other adventures, possibly bringing the Gang of 35 to Chicago to shoot, or down to West Virginia where his family has a cabin.

Photo Caption: Kelli Kling, left, and Julie Melendez test out their cameras during "Gang of 35" meeting at Grounds for Thought. 9/8/09 (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 September 2009 21:17

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