Jim Crotty’s luminous photos currently on display in the Anna Bier Gallery fill the space with light, color, serenity, and joy. The Dayton native has been passionate about photography ever since he first picked up a camera at age 12 and ventured off into the neighboring woods; decades later, his undiminished excitement is apparent in spell-binding images that transport the viewer to the time and place so beautifully depicted in each photograph.
One of Jim’s favorite subjects is Ohio’s beautiful Hocking Hills State Park, where he often shares his love of photography with others by conducting photography workshops; several of the pieces on display feature this natural treasure. “October Sunrise” offers a breathtaking colorful view of the scenic area taken just before a huge storm thundered through, while “Devil’s Bathtub” dramatically depicts one of the striking features of the park in radiant black and white. One can almost hear the splash of falling water when viewing scenic “Cedar Falls” in all its springtime glory, while “Cedar Falls and Stream” captures the vast grandeur of the place by including minuscule human beings to provide scale.
“Crabbing Dock Sunrise” shows the spectacular natural beauty of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, as the tide rolls in under a dynamic and expansive sky, an image that easily evokes the desire to walk out on that dock to better watch the rising sun. “Hilton Head Moonrise” offers a satisfying complement to the morning scene, providing a timeless view of universal beauty.
“Winter Sunrise on the Farm” offers a lovely yet dramatic view of the farm home where the father of three once lived with his young daughters; the ethereal “Summer Memories on the Farm” conjures up warm days happily spent with family. However, the same setting takes on a more turbulent form in “Summer Storm Sunset in Black and White,” clouds ominously filling the sky over the isolated farmhouse. Each of these depictions invites contemplation of the story told therein.
The delightful “Sunflower Moonrise” shows the moon rising over a field of sunflowers, a farm silo adding further interest to the glorious scene. “Sunflower Sunset” shows the field of gold under a vibrant pink sky, while “Sunflower Details” is a dazzling closeup of one of nature’s most exhilarating objects. A totally different mood is created by “Lingering Notes,” a nostalgic look at an old upright piano that stood in the upper floors of downtown Dayton’s Hauer Music store, a business begun by Jim’s grandfather. Perhaps that familial connection explains the warmth engendered when viewing the simple scene, the textured wood of the grand instrument acquiring a glowing patina from the sunlight streaming through the windows.
Ohio winters are sometimes solemn, bleak, and cold, but “Wolf Moon Winter Path” will warm your heart and spirit; a gorgeous moon rises in a pink-tinged sky illuminating an inviting path, vicariously transporting the viewer to that lovely location and moment in time. The connection between photographer, place, light, and viewer is palpable in this enthralling work.
Jim captures stories in his photographs, the images illustrating feelings as well as depicting fascinating subjects. The tranquil calm engendered by his work has led many major medical facilities across Ohio to feature his appealing pictures on their walls, hoping to induce comfort and healing in what can be a stressful setting. Likewise, when the holiday hubbub becomes too stressful, a visit to the loveliness on display in the Anna Bier Gallery will undoubtedly revive your spirits and leave you feeling refreshed and renewed.
Opening night for this exhibit of Jim Crotty’s amazing photography coincides with Darke County Center for the Arts’ Holiday presentation of The Texas Tenors on Sunday Dec. 9 when the Gallery, located within Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The photographs will remain on display through Jan. 19, and can be viewed every day by appointment. To arrange an appointment or a tour, contact Gallery Director Tamera McNulty at 937-564-5863; all exhibits at the Anna Bier Gallery are free and open to the public.