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Photography exhibit shows off versatility of medium

PROCTORVILLE — It started the way most people do when given a camera. Snaps of the family on vacation, reunions, holidays. The usual.

But Gabe Carroll had a special patron in his corner as far as his photography was concerned. That was his grandmother.

“My grandma kind of kept pressuring me each time I would go on a trip to see my photography,” Carroll recalled. “From there it just took off.”

That encouragement turned a hobby into a full-blown career with a exhibit of the Proctorville native’s art at Ohio University Southern Proctorville Center for the next two months.

The show is an eclectic look at Carroll’s portfolio with landscapes and portraits dominating.

“I shoot what I like and every day if I can,” he said. “Sometimes my wife helps me. If we have an idea we run out and shoot it.”

And it was “just shooting” that gave Carroll the technical skill and artistic eye that he offers in his work today.

“When I first started out, I had no lessons,” he said. “I didn’t use the automatic mode. It was just learning about exposure, going out every night and trying different stuff.”

Gary Tillis is the cultural coordinator at the Proctorville Center and has watched Carroll transform himself into a photographer.

“I knew he was getting into photography and it was becoming more of a part of his life,” he said. “I started looking at a few of his pieces and thought it would go well at the Proctorville Center.”

He approached Carroll with the idea of his doing a one-man show.

“His color composition impressed me the most,” Tillis said. “I love the way he uses color, the way he composes all of his different works. He is not looking at photography in a purely conservative approach. He plays around with capturing people … people day to day, rather than posed.”

Carroll says he enjoys using a variety of exposures when shooting and works in both film and digital.

“I like the randomness of film and not being able to see what is going to come out until it is developed,” he said. “I always like digital to make sure I get the shot that I want.”

But it’s the individuality that photography permits that gives the art its greatest appeal to Carroll.

“I like the fact that two people will never see the same object the same way,” he said. “You and I will go take a picture and it will most always come out differently.”

If you go:

Exhibit of Gabe Carroll photography opens Monday and runs through Sept. 30. There will be a reception Friday, Aug. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Ohio University Proctorville Center. There is not charge for the exhibit or reception.