Picture this: OLLI photography group displays work during FS


The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute,  a learning venue for active adults, is an excellent excuse to get out of the house and goof-off. And learn something new.

OLLI offers a wide variety of classes during the summer session and will kick off again in the fall with more fun and topics of interest.

This summer, the OLLI Photography Special Interest Group (SIG) is an example of doing just that.

According to Paula Mathis, OLLI director, about a dozen members meet a couple of times a month to share pictures they have taken and discuss ways to improve their photography skills.

“After just two years of being together, several of these friends were awarded ribbons at the 2019 Amateur Photography Competition hosted by the Hattiesburg Arts Council,” Mathis said.

Members of the OLLI Photo SIG will be hosting a display during FestivalSouth of 30 framed pieces of are, as well as more than 120 photos displayed in portfolios.

The public is invited to view this exhibition during a meet-and-greet reception from 1-2:30 pm. Friday, June 21, in the art gallery of the Peck House, located at 3601 Pearl Street, on the University of Southern Mississippi campus.

Theresa Ratti is one of the SIG photographs and will be displaying her piece, “Crazed.”

“I like to take photographs of small details and unusual things I see as I go about my daily activities,” Ratti said. On a recent trip to the Hattiesburg Library, she parked next to an old camper van that she said looked older than it probably was.

“As I walked past the van’s front hood I noticed how beautiful the crazed paint looked and snapped this photo.”

For Russ York, growing up at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, the mountains and many other beautiful scenes he saw on a daily basis inspired him. 

“I try to recapture that sense of peace and awe in my photography,” he said. “I like to play with the lighting to see how it impacts the feel of the photo.”

As a photography hobbyist most of his life, Larry Basden will display “Grand Canyon Lightning.”

He said the subject matter of his photos has varied widely, but the one thing his hobby has taught him is—”take as many pictures of the subject at hand as you can because one of them might capture the ‘moment.’ This is especially true for digital photography.”

It was during a group tour of the Grand Canyon in 2011 that York captured this ‘moment.”

Assembled at a popular viewpoint where they could get a good foreground for sunset pictures, they arrived early and saw a storm forming across the canyon.

“It caught my eye,” said York, who took a series of pictures at varying zoom levels hoping to catch the essence of the rainstorm in the distance.

“In all, the series consisted of 28 pictures,” he said. “It wasn’t until getting ready for the OLLI Photography SIG exhibition that I went back to examine this series for possible display. Of the 28 pictures, the fifth shot was the ONLY one that captured a lightning strike in the storm.”

Kay Smith is partial to pictures of flowers and pets, however she does like to shoot random photos anywhere she goes. The photo she will display, “Have a Seat,” was made at a local flea market.

“If the picture isn’t cropped, you can see my sister’s elbow,” Smith said. “She died three months later, so this picture is especially important to me. It reminds me of the fragile footprints we leave in life.”

Roger Anastasio’s interest in photography began when he was 10 and his father purchased a then state-of-the-art 35mm camera.

“Through the years I’ve attempted to learn and achieve some proficiency in as many aspects of the medium as I could,” Anastasio said. “Sometimes, however, it’s just not possible to do the job alone.”

Photographing a night-blooming cereus (cactus), which produced an exquisite flower and opened at midnight on the night of a full moon, required some extra help.

Because the flower is mush by the next morning, when Anastasio’s wife’s plants finally produced a flower after three years, Anastasio couldn’t get the photo he wanted by himself.

“I awakened my wife at 12:30 a.m. so she could hold and point a flash unit up to the ceiling as I photographed the flower while perched on a ladder in order to achieve the result I saw in my mind’s eye,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to have an avocation to pursue in retirement and a supportive spouse who’s a good sport.”

Dallas Gorbett enjoys snapping unusual photos at flea markets. “This picture was a nice capture of some colored clear-glass bottles high on a shelf, and it made a “good” picture,” he said. “But, I wondered what it would look like if I used a Photoshop Swirl filter. This photo, Swirled Light, was the result.”

Sandra Wadsworth captured the photo she is displaying during a recent trip to Mexico.

“Returning to my hotel room, I looked down and saw this photo waiting to be taken,” she said. “While I usually take photographs to remind me of where I've been, this one seems to be showing where I'm going.