Looking for something fun and free to do that’s indoors?
Check out some of Brian DeWolf’s photography, which is on display through Jan. 31 in the visual Art Gallery, located on the second floor of the Grand Gallery of the Paramount Theatre, located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora.
The collection includes pieces and large-scale banner prints shot in France from DeWolf’s exhibit shown in May 2009 at Croissy sur Seine, France, which were shot in France. More recent photos of the Fox Valley area also will be on display. Most of the pieces are available for purchase.
A Detour Along The Way DeWolf, a Batavia resident, traveled a long, winding road before becoming a photographer, but art was always in the back of his mind.
“Photography is a form of recording life,” DeWolf says. “Adjusting or editing the photograph is a form of interpreting life. The magic happens after the picture is taken when the artist bends and twists the information to give the image personality.”
DeWolf’s passion for photography can be traced back to 1971 upon his graduation from McKendree University in Lebanon. It was then that he began photographing, using a temporary darkroom in his parents’ basement in Wheaton. However, making a living took precedence, he says. Before devoting his time solely to photography, DeWolf worked as a manufacturer’s representative for his father’s business. He then served 20 years on the St. Charles police force and retired in 2000 as a sergeant. Only then was he able to pursue his passion full time.
“There really is no connection at all between police work and photography — I wanted a complete break,” DeWolf says. “My photography focuses on what is good in life. I center on the aesthetics and like to captivate people with the picture.”
Always drawn to old, historic buildings, DeWolf knew that photography was his calling when he spent three hours immersed in shooting pictures at the old Moline foundry building on Dean Street in St. Charles and wasn’t aware how much time had passed.
No matter the setting, DeWolf’s photography examines everyday life and celebrates the extraordinary of the ordinary. Photos of local images are prominent throughout DeWolf’s collections. Such images include downtown Batavia, window reflections of stores in historic Geneva or more peaceful, natural images such as the boathouse in Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva or the shores of the Fox River. Influenced by Ansel Adams and inspired by architecture, DeWolf holds true to his mission statement: “My photography began as an exercise to produce artistic images from the places that were most familiar to me. People no longer see the luster on what has become dull from familiarity … I don’t shoot spontaneously. I enjoy examining details of a scene.”
Those who attend DeWolf’s exhibit at the Paramount Theatre will get to see his images which, many times, take him hours to perfect on the computer. DeWolf manipulates the color photos, creating images that look more like a painting than a photo.
“I’m a perfectionist, and the computer has helped me create more detail and finesse to my images — I can document the images and create a mood, making it look more artistic,” says DeWolf.
Awards A member of the Professional Photographers of America, DeWolf’s photography has received many accolades throughout the years.
In 2002, his piece “Foggy Morning Ride” was accepted into the PPA Loan Collection. Marathon Press, the publisher of the collection, describes the collection as “the best of the best” of more than 8,000 entries.
In June 2003, “Foggy Morning Ride” also was featured as an introduction to a special advertising section for Geneva in Chicago magazine. The same piece also won the Denise Kavanagh Award at the St. Charles Fine Art Show in 2003.
As a way to develop an artist exchange between Geneva and its sister city, Croissy sur Seine, DeWolf was invited to photograph the French city in 2006. This visit resulted in a solo exhibit of his work in 2009 in France.
“A woman [who used to live in Geneva] became sick while visiting in Croissy,” DeWolf says. “She was befriended ... by Karin deMarco, the woman who organizes sister city relationships with the city of Croissy. They discovered some similarities between the two towns — rivers, rail line, etc. — and decided to organize citizen visits between the two cities for the purpose of exchanging culture and developing long-term friendships. Having had some success photographing Geneva, St. Charles and Batavia, I was asked if I would like to try photographing Croissy and nearby towns. I never considered declining the honor.”
DeWolf was awarded the Bronze Level Photographer of the Year award in 2008 when four out of four of his entries merited — or received high scores to be identified — as impressive images in PPA’s international print competition. Thirteen of DeWolf’s photos have merited in these international print competitions since 2002.
Also, in 2006, about 80 of DeWolf’s photos were chosen for “A Toast to the 14 Congressional District” event and fundraiser for former Speaker of the House, U.S. Congressman Dennis Hastert.
“My photographs are very much a niche, and I’m extremely grateful to everyone who has supported me throughout the years,” DeWolf says. “Things have picked up the past few years — it’s unbelievable.”
“I hope my photos create a relaxing, beautiful, calming and enjoyable effect upon the viewer,” he continues. “Also, the images on display at the Paramount will grab your attention – there’s a lot of big splashes of color.”
Viewers of DeWolf’s exhibit at the Paramount will be treated to a plethora of images, from familiar images to French landscapes and cityscapes that evoke the customs and personality of the country and the town. For more information about the exhibit, contact Melissa Mercado at email@example.com or call 630-408-9926. kc