Outer Banks photographer Linda Porter has a show on exhibit at Glenn Eure’s Ghost Fleet Gallery in Nags Head through June. Visitors will view a varied collection of photographs that includes flora, fauna, people and landscapes.
Porter is a well-known Outer Banks cosmetologist who came to photography when her salon of 22 years was destroyed by Hurricane Isabel. She attempted to restart her business, but she didn’t have much success.
Porter turned toward the camera and began experimenting with light and composition, eventually enrolling at Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Montana, where she studied the digital medium. A year-and-a-half later, she returned to doing hair and, eventually, reopened Sheer Genius in a new location.
Nature is Porter’s muse, as well as travel, and kayaking. She loves spending time in her digital darkroom where she creates fresh images, often saturated by vibrant color. Porter also frames her own images.
Her current exhibit, “To Your Eyes,” is a meditative collection with a bit of smile-producing humanity thrown in the mix.
Twenty images quietly call out to the viewer in the intimate West Wing alcove. This includes mallards in a sea of grass edging a waterline, water fowl spreading wings in a dance, and an egret perched on an aging, textural branch contrasting beautifully with the bird’s white, delicate feathers. The latter image is also a study in subtleties. The leafless, meandering limb floats across a blue-gray sky patterned with barely noticeable clouds. The pose of the bird adds an unusual touch to this well-known subject. It’s back faces the viewer with its head slightly tucked in an intimate gesture.
Of note is a series of images called “Antelope Canyon.” These depict rock caverns graced by light, shadow, form and color. The hues move from pale pink to red, red violet, orange and brown. The forms and light refractions Porter captured work with light and darkness to create a poetic, cavernous flow. It’s almost as if she transforms the solid rock into dancing water.
A series of florals dot the gallery walls, including a camelia, fox glove, daffodil, and irises. "Juicy" and "velvety" would be good words to describe the petals of these beauties that emit warmth, delicacy, vitality and rich color. From deep purple or yellow and white irises to a blushing pink camelia, the botanical portraits reinforce the magnificence of flowers.
A landscape and waterscape Porter included support her love of nature, light and color. “Raptor Point features a marsh with a stand of silhouetted trees that contrast. An intense orange sunset streaks across a greyish purple and blue sky. Strata’s of light and dark play across the picture plane ending up forming a reflective image.
Porter’s waterscape, “Reflections,” is almost an abstract study of color. An organic horizon of flame red crosses a body of water that appears as soft lines of color that moves from orange and white into pale blue to dark blue. Ironically, the lush, exciting color scene gives one a sense of complete silence. It’s a dream of a photograph.
Also, in the mix are two portraits of senior women: Betty Lou and Emma Jean. One is dolled up with intense make-up, huge daisy earrings and a coquettish. The other wears a bright red patterned dress, broad rimmed hat and sits with a profile view radiating pure joy.
Porter’s exhibit is an eclectic mix that showcases an understanding of color and light — muses that have been luring photographers for centuries. Her subjects are varied providing something for everyone.