A sense of placeJill Myers shuns the who for the where.

"She sees, therefore she shoots.Photographer Jill Myers thinks of the camera as a natural extension of her eyes. I love the challenge of taking a photo of something that captures a different view, Myers says. I see things differently.Viewers will see familiar places through Myers' distinctive lens when her photographic exhibit opens Jan. 7 at Pegasus Coffeehouse. "

  • Saturday, December 30, 2000 3:00pm
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“She sees, therefore she shoots.Photographer Jill Myers thinks of the camera as a natural extension of her eyes. I love the challenge of taking a photo of something that captures a different view, Myers says. I see things differently.Viewers will see familiar places through Myers’ distinctive lens when her photographic exhibit opens Jan. 7 at Pegasus Coffeehouse. Myers could easily take viewers on a world tour with her photography. She has photographed British and French villages, Alaskan glaciers, European castles, Atlantic and Pacific coasts and historic buildings in Philadelphia and Washington D.C.She has lived and worked in Germany, Denmark and Switzerland, other European cities and all over the United States. But Myers has lived in the Pacific Northwest for the last six years, and this region is the inspiration for the current Pegasus show.Myers’ love of photography was born when, as a child age 9, she helped her mother develop black-and-white photos in the basement of their Philadelphia home. She took her own pictures with a Brownie camera until her mother realized that Myers’ interest was not just a passing fancy and bought her a 35mm Besseler-Topcon. Myers has not studied photography formally, but is self-taught. She never needed help to cope with the technicalities of the medium. And she may have bought a certain freedom to develop her own vision by sidestepping art school versions of the photographic aesthetic. Today, Myers has a dual career as free-lance photographer and aerospace engineer for Tenzing Communications, developing systems for airplane passengers to access both email and the Internet. Myers’ aerospace work demands precision, sequential reasoning and mathematical calculation.Being tied to logic in the engineering arena may be one reason why Myers embraces spontaneity when it comes to her art. When she brings camera to eye and shoots, intuition and emotion inform her choices.I rarely go out deliberately. I just happen to see things and shoot them, Myers says. I just happen to be there.That does not mean that the work is haphazard, however. If the photographer has a fully realized artistic identity, choices are always being made, consciously or unconsciously, that inform the work. For Myers, cropping the subject is a core issue.I love doing the composition, the method of framing it through the lens, Myers says.Her photograph of a group of swans could have been a conventionally pretty shot. Instead, she shifts the camera to include a water-lapped dark wall that slashes a strong diagonal through the picture, and pushes the swans into a mass of snaky necks in the lower left-hand corner.It’s a good choice that makes an evocative photo with an undefined but menacing subtext. There are also photographs in Myers’ show that contain unexpected juxtapositions. In one picture, a bright red phone booth incongruously abuts a white Victorian-style house. Myers isn’t sure why she avoids photographing people, but she notices that tendency. Instead, her pictures pay homage to the particularities of place. Myers often finds people handing her their camera, however, with the request that she take a photo.People will see me with a camera and ask me to shoot them, Myers says. I guess that seeing me take my pictures triggers them to think I know what I’m doing.Islanders who treat themselves to a body of Myers’ work at Pegasus might agree.* * * * *Jill Myers’ photographs can be seen at Pegasus Coffeehouse Jan. 1-31. The opening reception is 3:30-5:30 p.m. Jan 7. “

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