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Take Five: The Sheldon's Olivia Lahs-Gonzales captures one year to commemorate 100

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 19, 2013 - How do you mark a full century of memories? If you’re The Sheldon, you ask four photographers to capture “100 Moments,” an exhibit depicting almost every corner of the venerable concert hall and art galleries.

The photographs of Ray Marklin, Odell Mitchell Jr., Kathleen M. Sanker and Jennifer Silverberg explore concerts, art showings, weddings and other Sheldon events in an exhibit opening Friday night.

During 2011-12 season, the quartet used their cameras and imaginations to tell unique stories about the 100-year-old Sheldon. The photographs are also printed in a 180-page coffee-table book, which contains essays by three authors including the Beacon’s Robert Duffy.

In a youthful accompaniment to “100 Moments,” photographs taken by Parkway Central and Oakville High School students will show in the Gallery of Children’s Art.

Sheldon art galleries director Olivia Lahs-Gonzales talked with the Beacon about creating the exhibit honoring The Sheldon’s centennial.

The Beacon: What is the concept behind “100 Moments?”

Olivia Lahs-Gonzales: We are basically looking forward and looking backward. The art is new, and we’re looking backward with the essays about various times in the Sheldon’s life.

How do the four photographers’ visions differ from one another?

Lahs-Gonzales: We have some who approached it from a documentary perspective and some who are more conceptual in their approach.

Ray Marklin is the one who always photographed our concerts, and so he has a particular eye for capturing the dynamism of the people who are here, from the musicians to the rental clients. Odell Mitchell, who comes from a newspaper background, produced lovely photoessays on specific events.

Jennifer Silverberg is a little more conceptual. Hers are about the space and the people in the space, but they’re more about psychology.

And then Katie Sanker’s are very different in that she uses these toy cameras where you can basically take photos and roll back the film a little, and superimpose. So they are less traditional. They’re kind of stripped of images that are layered. And I guess you could read them as the layering of time and the multiplicity of events.

Are the images digitally manipulated?

Lahs-Gonzales: The ones that are done by our commissioned photographers are really not, unless there’s some color correction. But the high school kids actually did go in, in some cases, and dramatically alter their original images so there are some very unique views in their exhibit.

As far as the main exhibit, how were the photographers selected?

Lahs-Gonzales: I wanted to get a variety of observations from different perspectives, including male and female. In choosing all of the participants, we wanted to have a cross section of artistic vision and overall diversity, which I believe we succeeded in doing. 

Are the photographs for sale?

Lahs-Gonzales: We’ll produce a portfolio with four images that will be for sale to benefit the galleries. And of course, there’s the coffee-table-sized book that’s available for $29.95.

The individual prints will sell for $350 for a 16-by-20. A percentage goes to the galleries and a percentage to the artist. Probably we could do larger if someone were interested. We don’t have prices on that but I’m sure if somebody fell in love with a big print, we could work that out as well.

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.