Artique First Friday will present photographer Tom Kelly
June 26, 2015
Tom Kelly has worked for U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association since 1986.
Before that, he was an award-winning news and sports photographer for the Wisconsin State Journal and Capital Times in the 1970s.
But what some Summit County residents don’t know is that Kelly is also a landscape photographer who moved here permanently in 1988 to take photos of what he says is "an amazing place."
"There are a myriad of places such as Arches or up at Guardsman Pass to use my digital camera to showcase those landscapes that had attracted me as a visitor in the past," Kelly told The Park Record.
Artique boutique, 283 N. Main in Kamas, will get to know Kelly and his photography during a First Friday Artist Opening on July 3.
The event will feature live music by Ryan Walsh, free hot dogs, and an exhibit of a number of Kelly’s images, with a concentration on barns.
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"There will be some from Wisconsin and famous ones from Utah, including the Tate Barn at Soldier Hollow," Kelly said during an interview with The Park Record. "There are also a few barns that many people never see, because they are located in that no-man’s land between Heber and Midway, which is a huge agricultural (and) ranching area.
"These barns in that area that are just magnificent," he said. "Some of them are falling down, but still have some great integrity, and if you position them with Mount Timpanogos in the background, you get this amazing scene."
Kelly even has a few images he took in the Eastern Sierra.
"The thing about barns that are interesting is that they all have a common thread, but no two are exactly alike," he said. "I look for those differences and try to get them in the right light conditions."
Aside from the barns, the Artique exhibit will include Utah’s iconic landscapes.
"One in particular, which is a favorite of mine, was taken in Bryce Canyon," Kelly said. "There is this pine tree that is just clinging to this rock. The needles are bright green in the sunrise light, but the light hasn’t hit the rocks behind it."
Kelly’s odyssey from film to digital photography started when he was 15.
"I was into model rocketry and there was a rocket that took a picture when it was on its way down from a launch," he said. "The photo would be on a negative that needed to be processed and printed, and I learned how to process and print my own pictures from there and then eventually purchased my own camera."
In high school, during the 1960s, Kelly’s obsession turned to sports photography.
"The U.S. Ski Jumping Team used to train in Madison and I would go an take head shots, team shots and action shots for the team," he said.
Those shots led to Kelly’s career in news and additional sports assignments.
"I chased ambulances, followed football and hockey games and loved doing it," he said.
Kelly left that profession in 1977, and went into public relations and moved to Park City where he was promoted to president of communications for the USSA in 1988.
Around that same time, Kelly rekindled his love for taking pictures when digital photography emerged 15 years ago.
"I liked the technology," he said. "I liked the simplicity and I liked that I didn’t have to pay for film and processing."
The photographer decided to turn his attention to the outdoors, rather than sports.
While developing his new style, Kelly utilized his news and sports photography instincts.
"I knew how to do reportage and tell stories and that translated that over to my landscapes," he said. "Unlike other landscape photographers, I’m a pretty active. I’m not one to go up and take one shot of a scene or sit and wait for hours to take a shot. I like to roam around the area. A fun morning for me would be waking up in Moab and hour before sunrise and heading to the Courthouse Wash in Arches National Park, where I move around to new places to shoot. I try to create iconic scenes that take people back in time or bring up a memory of a time or a place."
The Artique exhibit will feature six large-format works and 30 to 40 small prints.
"Most of these were taken during the past four years," Kelly said. "It’s challenging because I’ve shot so much. So I had to figure out what I was going to show."
Kelly met Artique owner Katie Stellpflug a few years ago.
"I became a fan of the gallery because. I like that she gives local artists a place to showcase their work," he said. "In fact, my wife (Carole Duh) has shown her knitted items and has done some decorating for Katie."
A few weeks ago, Stellpflug told Kelly she needed to schedule an artist opening for July.
"We talked about putting up some of my photographs during the Fourth of July weekend celebration," Kelly said. "This show is rare for me because I don’t sell a lot of my work. I post my photos on Facebook and the return I get is the comments from people who see these photos. So, this will give people an opportunity to buy some of my photographs."
Artique, 283 N. Main St. in Kamas, will present a First Friday Artist Opening with Tom Kelly on July 3, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 435-640-8048 or visit http://www.facebook.com/artiqueartandgifts?fref=ts&ref=br_tf.
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