Like photography? Why you'll find a lot of it all over Modesto in February

One of the images of Glacier Bay by guest artist QT Luong.
One of the images of Glacier Bay by guest artist QT Luong. Submitted by foto modesto

Modesto-area photographers hope their works click with the public during a month-long exhibit that will be held throughout the city in February.

The foto modesto event takes over the walls at 23 venues, mainly downtown and at McHenry Village, featuring 25 individual Modesto area photographers, with even more artists showing in groups. The exhibits will cover a range of styles – from traditional and fine art to digitally manipulated images.

This is the second year for the event, organized by photographers David Schroeder, John Wynn and Edward Mendes. “We wanted to bring more awareness to photography as an art,” Schroeder said of the impetus behind the show. “We’re at a point in our history where everybody takes photos with a phone. We just wanted to (highlight) the art part of it.”

Organizers also wanted to offer locals more unique works. “We’re looking to not do the same thing, looking into more special exhibits. For example, we discovered George McWilliams, a retired graphic artist from San Francisco who lives in Modesto,” Schroeder said. “He’s traveled the world and he has this whole collection of indigenous cultures from Asia and the Pacific.”

An image from the Grand Tetons by guest artist QT Luong. QT Luong Submitted by foto modesto

McWilliams’ works will be on display at Deva Cafe in downtown Modesto.

The foto modesto exhibits will cover several subjects – from landscape, nature and wildlife, to portrait art, street photography and message images – and some locales will have specific themes. At the Great Valley Museum, for example, Larry Lew will show photographs of birds of the Central Valley.

While the overall focus is on local photographers, guest artist QT Luong of San Jose will display his “Treasured Lands” exhibit at the downtown Mistlin Gallery, featuring his images from 59 national parks. Luong photographed the parks over several years using a large format camera, according to a press release.

QT Luong Submitted by foto modesto

Those works have been the subject of four books, including the best-selling “Treasured Lands,” winner of six national book awards. Photos in the exhibit have appeared in Time, Life, Outside, Scientific American, GEO and National Geographic, according to the release, and Luong’s ongoing traveling exhibit of large prints has shown in museums and galleries nationwide. It will be at the Mistlin Gallery through March 2.

Along with showcasing photography, the event looks to benefit the business and gallery venues opening their doors. To that end, there will be more special events during this year’s show to attract patrons, Schroeder said:

A Gala Opeing for foto modesto will be held at Mistlin Gallery on Friday, Feb. 2, from 6 to 9 p.m. Luong will be there to offer a brief overview of his work.

Luong will return to Modesto on Sunday, Feb. 11, for an in-depth presentation at Prospect Theater Project, 1214 K St., from 2 to 4 p.m. A donation of $10 will be requested.

The “Collision V” show, an annual event that showcases photographs combined with poetry, will be held in conjunction with foto modesto at the Mistlin Gallery. Eighteen area poets and 18 photographers collaborate to present pieces that pair with each other.

The “Collision V” exhibit will be featured at February’s Third Thursday Art Walk on Feb. 15 where participating poets read their poems while the corresponding photographs are displayed on screen.

The Third Thursday Art Walk also will feature several foto modesto artist receptions at individual venues.

There will be five group exhibits in addition to the individual venue shows. Photo Collective at the McHenry Museum; the Modesto Camera Club at the Modesto Library; two student shows with one at the Stanislaus County Office of Education, the other at Modesto Junior College; and a display of photographs from local author Ken White’s book “Touchstones: Life & Times of Modesto” at the Gallo Center for the Arts.

This photo by Anna Barber is part of the foto modesto exhibit. Anna Barber Submitted by foto modesto

A reception for the Photo Collective exhibit will be held Saturday, Feb. 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. at McHenry Museum. A foto modesto Artist Talk is scheduled 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, at Prospect Theater.

While most of the artist receptions are during the Art Walk, two will be on other dates – Lew’s at the Great Valley Museum on Friday, Feb. 2, and Schroeder’s at the Candy’s Carefree Travel on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Aside from Luong’s presentation at Prospect Theater, all of the events and exhibits are free. Exhibits remain at each location for the entire month, with hours varying according to host-venue hours.

In addition to Schroeder, Mendes, Lew, McWilliams and Wynn, photographers showing their images are: Bill Harris, Jennifer Williams, Dan Souza, Raymond Jabola, Greg Savage, Eric Bjerke, Peter Lee, Noah Wilson, Dennis Wister, Anna Barber, Gary Hunter, James Curl, Michael Mangano, Rebecca Harvey, Philip Johnson, Jeremy Center, Mark Peters, Lorraine Nilson, Micha Burke and Deby Tumrose.

Venues include Picasso’s Gourmet Deli, Candy’s Carefree Travel, Slater’s Furnishings, Crow Trading Co., Great Valley Museum, Sierra Vista, Prospect Theater, Concetta’s, Ralston’s Goat, Langlois Music, Chartreuse Muse, Modesto Junior College Gallery, Barkin’ Dog, Tri-Chromatic Gallery, Preservation Coffee, Deva Cafe, Dewz, Stanislaus County Library, Stanislaus County Office of Education, McHenry Museum and the Gallo Center.

foto modesto

WHEN: Varying hours, Feb. 1-28; Gala Opening 5:30-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2; QT Luong presentation 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11; Third Thursday Art Walk 5-9 p.m. Feb. 15; Photo Collective reception 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17; Artist Talk, 2-4 p.m. Feb. 18

WHERE: Exhibits throughout Modesto; Gala Opening at Mistlin Gallery, 1015 J St.; Luong presentation, Prospect Theater Project, 1214 K St.; Photo Collective reception McHenry Museum, 1402 I St.; Artist Talk, Prospect Theater

ADMISSION: Free; $10 donation for Feb. 11 QT Luong presentation