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'Generations' impressive

There is little visually original narrative ground broken with "Generations," the Salt Lake Seven photography exhibit on display at Art Access through Nov. 9. Notwithstanding, there is much to recommend this show.

Technical ability and image quality are certainly reasons to see "Generations," but the primary purpose should be to examine the sumptuous values achieved in the black-and-white and low-saturated-color photography. It is most impressive and capable of creating unexpected emotions in the viewer: not an easy feat.

The Salt Lake Seven (currently made up of only six) is a group of photographers who have met and worked together over the past decade. Originally started by students and their retiring photography instructor Kent Miles, they meet to share ideas, furnish critiques and recount successes.

"Two years ago we elected to collectively work on a themed project," said Miles. "We would each do independent work, following our individual motifs, but with a common underlying idea. We chose to explore the generations of life, from youth to advanced age."

Other members in the group are Justin Hackworth, Alan Jackson, Carl Oelerich, Bill Patterson and Brian Schiele: Each has a personal viewpoint and a singular technical approach.

Hackworth's photographs breathe memories of Rexburg, Idaho; "Doralee," an elderly woman in her home, is particularly fine.

Jackson refers to his work as "Askew" — which he composes in a box turned 45 degrees. His subjects feel "slightly off to me."

Oelerich's images are of peasant farmers in Cuba, and each is a documentary on difficult lives.

Patterson approached "Generations" through the female nude: His photographs employ light and form with aplomb, and his women are real rather than model stereotypes.

Schiele's diptychs employ snapshot-like images with text to tell his characters' story. These are modern angst-ridden postcards.

Miles' images continue to be honest, beautifully composed documents of individuals. His "Hannah" is perhaps the finest piece in the show.

A companion book of the "Generations" exhibit can be ordered by going online to blurb.com/bookstore/detail/96778.


E-mail: gag@desnews.com