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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

In Other Words: Pictures Worth A Thousand Words And Emotions on Display at Fort Thomas Coffee

Chris. Taken by a friend
Even if you don’t know Chris Stegner, you’ve seen him around town. He’s at all of the major city events with cameras hanging off his neck. He usually walks alone, watching, focusing on the action, looking for the just right photo. You can see and buy his photos at Fort Thomas Coffee this month.

Roofing, siding, gutters, painting. 

I own a couple of his photos from his Abandoned Building collection and people always comment on them. They are a bit haunting with faded colors and rotting wood contrasted by brilliant skies and trees. There are no people just the faded images of a life that was.

Courtesy of Chris Stegner
Stegner’s interest in art began in high school. He wanted to be the school’s photographer but there wasn’t a call for him there. Instead he began to draw cartoons for the paper and that lead to a long professional career in graphic design. He says, “Thanks to her, my art career had been launched, which is indeed still what I do for a living. Graphic design for an environmental branding design firm, White Design Studio, here in Cincinnati.” 

His career took off in the Air Force. He recalls, “I joined the Air Force as a “Graphics Specialist”, which sounded great, but actually meant making signs for around the base, designing and producing overhead projector slides for briefings and other “not so artistic” things. While I was ‘Officially’ assigned to the graphics shop, the base photo lab shared our space with us and was very open to helping me learn more about photography.”

Courtesy: Chris Stegner
Many artists have a preferred subject, but not Stegner. “For quite a few years I was very passionate about shooting covered bridges and old Mail Pouch tobacco barns.... My latest phase, passion really, is abandoned buildings. It started out by running into old abandoned homes on my long drives. I remember the first time I chanced entering an old farm house in West Virginia. I was paranoid as can be, but stayed in there for hours capturing what I had discovered. What I considered just a house, a structure, was actually a home. A home that appeared to have just been walked out of, leaving nearly everything. I was amazed by that and found myself considering the lives of the people that had lived there. It really is kind of an oddly spiritual feeling…. I photograph abandoned places to take my audience to places they’d never otherwise go, trying my best to have them feel the way I feel when I’m there. Being there, in person, smelling the smells, feeling the dampness, and allowing your mind to wonder is something that, no matter how good of a photographer you may be, is something that could never be captured.“

“ I recently had the opportunity to document the Officer’s Homes in Fort Thomas right after the city took ownership.” He has also documented festivals in Tower Park capturing some outstanding fireworks over the performance pavilion.
Courtesy: Chris Stegner

“Photography has taught me that I can look at a scene through a variety of "lenses", I try to do the same with other parts of my life, including personal relationships, my view of the world around me. I'm not always successful, but when I stand back, and apply how I view a scene through my camera, it makes me stop and think, “There are many ways to view this person, situation, or social issues. Any given photo can be captured many different ways depending on my point of view. I think if I'm not happy with myself, like a photograph, I can try to change my point of view to better myself.”

Oh, to give everyone multiple lenses.

You can see and buy photos by Chris Stegner at Fort Thomas Coffee this month.

Courtesy: Chris Stegner

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