Denver Photo Art Gallery will unveil their newest exhibit, “Fire! Colorado Under Siege” during the First Fridays Artwalk in the Santa Fe Art District on September 7. The powerful, stirring photographs of four distinct artists will take visitors on a journey into the monstrous wildfires that torched Waldo Canyon in Colorado Springs and the High Park fire that burned near Fort Collins.
The two extreme wildfires of the summer devastated our state, burning a total combined 105,531 acres, according to inciweb.org. The show aims to honor the training and struggles experienced by the men and women who risk their lives to combat Colorado’s wildfires, by giving ten percent of exhibit sales to the Colorado Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
The artists featured were each chosen for their intense and powerful imagery in relation to the subject matter. John Wark, a pilot as well as aerial and fine art photographer, AAron
Ontiveroz, (spelled with two A’s) staff photographer for The Denver Post, Steve “Smitty” Smith, Fire Protection Engineer with the Colorado Springs Fire Department and fire photographer, and Richard Saxon, award winning photographer, author of “Probie: Teaching Firefighters” and father of a volunteer firefighter.
The visual effects of Wark’s oversize aerial images expresses the power and devastation of these now historic, record breaking monstrosities of fire as they mix with the natural beauty of Colorado’s landscape. The largest, dramatic shot is a stunning 40 inches by 60 inches.
The show is breathtaking through raw, stirring shots such as those taken by Saxon and Ontiveroz. Each of the artists provides a wide emotional scope of heartache, bravery and dedication that exists within the varying spectrum of wildfires. Ontiveroz’s angst-ridden shot of an elderly gentleman standing amongst what is left of his home brings the devastation into full view. Saxon’s dark but inspirational shot of a firefighter courageously entering a zero-visibility, smoke-filled void is inspiring and chilling all at once. Saxon adds,
“I believe this is an essential part of the show because it helps illustrate the struggles and triumphs that firefighters go through…”
The dedication and heart of a firefighter is clearly an inspiration for the Denver Photo Art Gallery as well as featured artists like Saxon and Smith. Both have close ties within the firefighting mission. Saxon is the proud father of a firefighter who was inspired by his son and Smith is an active firefighter himself. Both men successfully capture the strength of these honorable public servants in their photography.
“Fire! Colorado Under Siege” will be open to the public until November 27 and admittance is free. For more information on this show as well as photos of additional exhibits at the gallery, visit www.DenverPhotoArt.com.