GENEVA – Art photographer Brian DeWolf of Batavia is known for some of the most memorable images taken in the TriCities and far beyond.
He began taking pictures after graduating from college, a news release stated. He did some portrait photography, but after having success in photographic competition with his landscapes, he devoted his efforts to it and refined his trademark style.
DeWolf grew up in Wheaton and attended McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois, graduating in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in psychology. He sold hardware and related products as a manufacturer’s representative for his father's business in the 1970s, and was a police officer in St. Charles from 1979 until his retirement as a sergeant in 2000.
Aside from the Kodak Brownie he used as a boy, his serious attempts to be a photographic artist were with a relic Mamiya 35mm camera and two lenses in the 1970s. As time permitted, he photographed on sales trips around the Midwest. Before retiring from law enforcement, he built a darkroom and shot with a medium-format Hasselblad system. Eventually, high-resolution film scans imported into Photoshop replaced the wet darkroom. Now his shooting and processing is all done digitally.
DeWolf is a member of Professional Photographers of America. His image titled “Foggy Morning Ride” was accepted into the PPA Loan Collection for 2002. Marathon Press, publisher of the Loan Collection, describes the collection as “the best of the best” from over 8,000 entries. “Foggy Morning Ride” was featured as the introduction to a special advertising section for Geneva in Chicago magazine in June 2003.
It also won the Denise Kavanagh award at the St. Charles Fine Art Show in 2003. In 2008, he was awarded the Bronze Level Photographer of the Year award when four out of four entries "merited" in PPA’s international print competition. Thirteen of his images have merited in these international print competitions since 2002.
In 2006, about 80 of his images were chosen for “A Toast to the 14th Congressional District” event at which the featured guest speaker was late White House press secretary Tony Snow.
In 2007, representatives of the local Geneva International Cultural Exchange Committee and Croissy sans Frontieres in Croissy sur Seine, France, invited DeWolf to photograph Croissy as a step in developing an artist exchange program between the two cities. Croissy and surrounding villages along the Seine River are called “the playground of the French Impressionists.” It resulted in a 2009 solo exhibit in France that was attended by a member of the French Parliament, a French senator, three local mayors and the family of a former French ambassador.
DeWolf's work is displayed and sold at Proud Fox Gallery in Geneva. He offers a Collector Series of investment-grade prints. Images are printed with inks and papers that have been independently tested for stability and longevity.
"My photography began as an exercise to produce artistic images from the places that were most familiar to me," he wrote in his artist statement. "People no longer see the luster on what has become dull from familiarity. I learned that we need not travel far to find light falling seductively upon an object. Photography is a process of selecting, isolating and enhancing a subject by finding that favorable light and then using techniques to enhance the most striking elements. It’s an exercise that can be done everywhere.
"Our minds unwittingly interpret and isolate parts of a scene that get our attention and ignore others. The camera doesn’t interpret. That is one reason why the resulting print can disappoint us. A disappointing picture often tells us we should have noticed clutter in the scene and taken steps to omit them. Or maybe the lighting should have been better.
“Just as one’s attention can be focused upon good, bad or indifference, the camera can be focused on those aspects of life as well. I choose to focus my lens on that which is good in nature, good in mankind, thoughtful, and peaceful. My work is not photo-journalistic. It will not add to the evidence of man’s strife.
"I don’t like to shoot spontaneously. I enjoy examining details of a scene. When something begs attention, instinct tells me to look at it more carefully. I evaluate the lighting, search the view finder for distracting objects, and look for the most favorable angle. Landscape photography sounds inherently relaxed, but even scenes that seem static are in flux and one must press the shutter release lest they get away.
"A camera creates a historical document. Granted, not all history is visually interesting. My goal is to artistically document the historical aspect of common life and the good in life. I want viewers to feel they are looking at a moment that was spared from its destiny as an unrecorded memory, and to do it in a way that is pleasing to look at. I also want the scene to produce an emotional response in others like it did for me.”
Proud Fox owner David Frydrychowicz invites the community to visit the gallery and see what's new.
"During your visit, please sign up to receive emails tailored to your specific interests, upcoming events, and times for our free art and framing demos," he announced.
About the gallery and frame store
The shop, founded in 1987, has the framing expertise to protect artwork, photos, family heirlooms, collectibles, memorabilia and favorite sports pieces, the release stated. A customer appreciation sale continues through December.
If you go
WHAT: Brian DeWolf's fine art photography at Proud Fox Frame Shop and Gallery
WHERE: 213 W. State St., Geneva
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday
INFO: 630-262-8797, ProudFoxGallery.com