The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


‘Shaped by Water’ photography exhibit at Meadows

The Mildred Hawn Gallery in the Hamon Arts Library at the Meadow School of the Arts opened its latest exhibit, “Shaped by Water,” Thursday. The photographers, Carol and David Farmer, were the guests of honor at a reception held in the Taubman Atrium, also in the Meadows building.

The exhibit is titled “Shaped by Water” because each photograph depicts landscapes “carved and scoured by water.” “It’s a fragile environment,” D. Farmer said, describing the canyons and creeks that most of their work depicts.

The exhibition consists of large-format, black-and-white photographs taken between 2001 and 2005. They depict views ranging from the American West to “quiet, intimate scenes along streams in the Texas Hill Country.” The photographs “remind us how water, our most critical natural resource, has profoundly shaped the environment of the West for millions of years,” states an announcement on the SMU Web site.

C. Farmer became interested in large-format photography when, after retiring from an international consulting firm in 1998, she enrolled in Charles Debus’ class at SMU. There she learned how to use “old-fashioned” cameras and work in the darkroom.

“I really loved that,” C. Farmer said. “It’s perfect for [taking photographs of] landscapes.”

The SMU campus is a familiar sight to D. Farmer, who served as the director of the DeGoyler Library for almost 16 years before retiring and moving to New Mexico with his wife.

His interest in large-format work began when C. Farmer enrolled in classes. “I’d been taking photographs for a long time,” he said, “{But} it was a great opportunity to learn.”

The Farmers loved the classes so much that they built a darkroom in their home in Taos, New Mexico. They frequently travel and usually camp at the location they are shooting. “The land is very rugged in some areas,” D. Farmer said, adding that they had to buy a truck once they started shooting more remote locations.

Their photography calls attention to single moments in the existence of a canyon, cave or waterfall, all natural elements formed and shaped by water. “The eye tends to take in a huge amount of space and land, but right at your feet there may be something intriguing,” D. Farmer said.

“We stay open,” C. Farmer said, “and just keep looking and responding to visual impact.”

The idea for an exhibition at SMU came when the Farmers were making a routine visit to campus. They brought some of their work to show friends and were eventually asked by the director of the Hamon Arts Library to do an exhibit.

This is the first gallery showing for the Farmers, though they have displayed work at various shows in Taos. D. Farmer also won first place in photography at the Taos Open last year.

The Farmers plan to spend the next month camping in the backcountry of Utah, adding more photographs to their growing portfolio. “I’m not interested in macro-photography,” D. Farmer said, adding that they may begin focusing on the details of the environments they photograph.

“It is important to retire to something, not from something,” D. Farmer said. “We have friends who have retired and not really known what they were going to do. We have found something that is just so engaging, enjoyable and challenging.”

The “Shaped by Water” exhibit is co-sponsored by the DeGolyer Library, the Jerry Bywaters Special Collections, Friends of the SMU Libraries and the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies. It will run through Nov. 17.

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