During the month of September, The Matthews will be hosting a photography exhibit, “A Moment in Time,” featuring several local Black Hills photographers. The show will run September 4-30 and be open to the public during the gallery’s business hours, Mon. – Sat., 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  

Opening Reception

The opening reception for the show will be held 6:00-8:00 p.m., Friday, Sept. 4 in the art gallery.  This reception is open to the public and free.

“Photography is an amazing art form,” remarks Samantha Thompson, Gallery Coordinator. “It captures nature and people in intimate and rare moments, and can transport you to faraway places that you wouldn’t normally get to experience. We are fortunate to have such talented local photographers who can capture these moments for us to enjoy. “

Featured Artists

At the time of this writing, the following artists are slated to be showing their work. There are two more we are waiting for their commitment.

  • Heidi Watson (image of work below with artist statement)
  • Dan Contonis (image of work below with biography)
  • Mark Watson  (image of work below with biography)
"Look Out Vistas in the Storm Light," photography on canvas, by Heidi Watson

“Look Out Vistas in the Storm Light,” photography on canvas, by Heidi Watson

My style of photography has taken on many changes, but each change was for the better.  It has been said, “Every new thing a person learns becomes an extension of him or herself.”  For the last two or three years, I have been taking on a new approach to nature photographs by extracting parts of the whole to create an almost inner world from what I started with.  You could call it “almost abstract.”  What you see is what you get.  I do not manipulate any of my images.  All I do is what an art photographer would do in a dark room.  Rather than digitally doctor the image, I take on a different perspectives when I first looked at it.  I find this more challenging and I like a good challenge when it comes to photographing things.


"Fog in the Canyon," Metal Print by Dan Contonis

“Fog in the Canyon,” Metal Print by Dan Contonis

Dan Contonis BIOGRAPHY
Dan was fascinated with photography when he got his first camera: a Kodak Duo-flex that used 120 black & white film. He has gradually upgraded to a 35 mm film, professional medium format, to single lens reflex digital equipment. Dan has no formal training in photography. He just shoots what he sees and replicates the scene as an image others can enjoy. Photography was his hobby and has now become a passion.

Living in Spearfish, SD, Dan enjoys a plethora of photo shots with each change of the seasons. His work ranges from natural landscapes to wildlife. Most recently, he has been doing what is called “grunge,” which can be defined as natural photography with extremely high contrast, color saturation, and definition applied. This creates rough and gritty images with extreme raw earth tones. One can recognize the image but the color is unusual. It is essentially taking a visual truth and creating a distortion of that truth.


"Crouching Lion" by Mark Watson

“Crouching Lion” by Mark Watson

At an early age, Mark became fascinated with wildlife. Growing up inside a National Park attributed to the abundant wildlife viewing and photographing opportunities. After learning about photojournalism, his wildlife art took a new turn.

“My photos no longer just depicted an animal in its natural setting looking regal, but I began to capture the animals in their element – feeding, peering around trees, looking for predators. I worry less about how everything looks and concentrate more on what the animal is doing.” Says Watson.

Spending hours in the woods stalking animals or letting them feed to him and shooting them interacting with each other truly shows how wonderful wildlife truly is.


The Evolution of Photography

World’s oldest known photograph, by Nicéphore Niépce, 1825

The history of photography has roots in remote antiquity with the discovery of the principle of the camera obscura and the observation that some substances are visibly altered by exposure to light.  As far as is known, nobody thought of bringing these two phenomena together to capture camera images in permanent form until around 1800, when Thomas Wedgwood made the first reliably documented although unsuccessful attempt.  In the mid-1820s, Nicéphore Niépce succeeded, but several days of exposure in the camera were required and the earliest results were very crude.  Niépce’s associate, Louis Daguerre, went on to develop the daguerreotype process, the first publicly announced photographic process, which required only minutes of exposure in the camera and produced clear, finely detailed results.  It was commercially introduced in 1839, a date generally accepted as the birth year of practical photography.

Roll Film is a huge advancement
The metal-based daguerreotype process soon had some competition from the paper-based calotype negative and salt print processes invented by Henry Fox Talbot.  Subsequent innovations reduced the required camera exposure time from minutes to seconds and eventually to a small fraction of a second; introduced new photographic media which were more economical, sensitive and convenient. This included roll films for casual use by amateurs; and made it possible to take pictures in natural color as well as in black-and-white.

The 1990s usher in digital cameras
The commercial introduction of computer-based electronic digital cameras in the 1990s soon revolutionized photography.  During the first decade of the 21st century, traditional film-based photochemical methods were increasingly marginalized as the practical advantages of the new technology became widely appreciated and the image quality of moderately priced digital cameras was continually improved.  Digital photography has taken on a new life with quality, high-resolution cameras being included in all smart phone technology.

Sponsored by…

Thank you to the sponsors that help us bring art shows, plays, concerts, and other live entertainment acts to The Matthews.  We couldn’t do it without you.  

KEVN Black Hills Fox, Modern Woodmen, South Dakota Arts Council, Great Western Bank, Killian’s Tavern, Black Hills Pioneer, Bay Leaf Cafe, Clark Printing, City of Spearfish, Wolff’s Plumbing & Heating, Inc., Lucky’s 13 Pub, Spearfish Holiday Inn, Zonta Club of Spearfish, Optimist Club of Spearfish, Century 21 of Spearfish, The Matthews’ family, The Kelley family — CLICK HERE to visit these sponsors’ business websites.

Would your business like to become a sponsor?  CLICK HERE to learn more.