August 2008: Erna Gilbertson, Nature's Images
As I was waiting to talk to Erna Gilbertson about her work, I looked to find the underlying vision, the theme that ties her work together and makes it uniquely Erna's. It only took a few seconds. Yes, it's all about nature, but more than that, it's all about light. Photography is at its core all about light, but not every photographer can capture the nuances. Erna seeks out and expertly captures those nuances of shadow and sparkle and glow.
She started at Market back in 1997, but at the time she sewed and sold hats. Remember those tall cat-in-the-hat style hats that were all the rage back then? She started selling some greeting cards made with her photographs. Hat styles go in and out of fashion, but a beautiful photograph is always compelling, and so after a couple of years, photography became the focus of her artistry and her business.
Her booth itself is spacious, with the wall space dedicated to a gallery of framed prints. The neutral gray background is perfect for highlighting the pieces themselves. Tables along the sides hold baskets full of matted prints, all neatly organized. Cards are still a prominent feature of her stock, displayed in a rack out front, drawing folks in to see more. She prints from both digital files and film negatives, and mats and frames all her work herself.
Apologies for my own photography of works framed in glass on a sunny day, at least we waited until it was shady in the booth! Justice is not done to these beautiful images - perhaps it will compel you to come and look at Erna's work in person, where you can appreciate her masterful capture of the language of light in person. She sets up in space 7, which is on the West (fountain) Park Block along 8th Street.