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By Peter Sawyer
The Bedford Central Library and Forest Branch of the Bedford Public Library system are hosting a photography exhibit that features the work of four members of the Forest Photo Club.
The Library system contacted one of the group’s prominent members, Robert Miller, to come exhibit his work. Miller invited three other members of the club: Sam Maddox, Janet Johnson and Andy Locascio to join in the exhibit. The featured photographers will have their art displayed at the Bedford Central Library and Forest Library.
Miller was born in California, and moved to the Lynchburg area in 1976. He has exhibited all over the world: in Germany, France, Switzerland and Australia. He mostly takes pictures of landscapes, nature and wildlife.
“I shot things I liked and enjoyed, and people enjoyed what I (shot), and how I presented my pictures,” Miller said. “It’s my passion to shoot a good photograph. If it pleases me, I hope it pleases someone else.”
Many of the photographs on exhibit at the Bedford Central Library are from Central Virginia.
“I travel through Virginia a lot,” Miller said. “I tried to concentrate on local photography from Virginia, to promote the beauty of Virginia, and its natural surroundings.”
One of Miller’s most famous pictures is on display at the National Geographic Museum. It is also featured in Simply Beautiful Photography, which is a compilation of photographs from National Geographic issues. Miller said the purpose of the book was to select 250 of the best photographs from the National Geographic archives. This picture is on display at the exhibit at the Bedford Central Library.
Miller does a lot of work with fellow club member Maddox. Maddox, who works at a frame shop in Lynchburg, has been doing photography as a hobby for 20 to 25 years. He does a lot of the technical work of making prints. Many of Miller’s and Maddox’s photographs have been printed on canvas. This was done at the shop. Miller said Maddox is a “master framer,” but also invited him to be a part of the exhibit to showcase some of his photography.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity for him to show some of his work,” Miller said. “He doesn’t show his work too often.”
Maddox shoots many of his photographs when he takes trips with his wife. Like Miller, he focuses on taking pictures of nature and wildlife.
Miller and Maddox have seen improvements in technology change photography.
“The technology today is just heads above film,” Maddox said. “There’s just so many things you can do with digital.”
Miller said the Internet has made his work more marketable on a global scale. It gives more people the ability to see his work, and purchase it. Miller said he has a picture that six million people have seen because of the Internet.
Miller said the Internet allowed him to become well-known around the world before he became popular in Central Virginia. This exhibit will allow people in Bedford the opportunity to see the work of this world-renown, local artist.
“I work hard, not only to promote myself, (but to) promote photography as an art form,” Miller said. “It’s taken a long time coming (for) people to appreciate this...that photography is art.”
In addition to exhibiting, Miller will teach a free photography course at both the Bedford Central and Forest Libraries, sharing his knowledge and expertise in capturing moments through a lense. Andy Locascio will join Miller in instructing the course. Classes will take place at the Bedford Central Library on Tuesday, March 22 at 6 p.m., and at the Forest Library on Thursday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Call (540) 586-8911, ext. 1111 for registration.