On July 12, The ARTspace Annex at 217 Fifth St. in Hollister was the site of the opening reception for “Framing a Story,” a series of photographic essays by ten San Benito County photographers.
The collection highlights the life and landscape of San Benito County, as well as images inside of an auto shop and portraits of a professional clown.
Alicia Arcidiacono, who works and lives at Paicines Ranch, is a biologist and photographer passionate about capturing images of wildlife and “human moments.” She highlights those moments through a series of ranch photos emphasizing women.
“These are all extremely powerful women,” Arcidiacono said. “I wanted to empower women and to show their significance in ranch life.”
One such photograph shows shepard Jessie Maien running with a flock of sheep behind her.
“She had just run five miles leading the sheep down a steep path,” Arcidiacono said. “It shows determination.”
Pointing to a second photograph of two female ranch workers tending to a newborn sheep, Arcidiacono said, “This shows you the grace, and such a compassion with the animals.”
Connie L. Barnes was also present for the opening reception. She took a series of photographs that represented the grief she experienced after her mother died.
“This is the first time of me expressing myself about the loss,” Barnes said. “For me to do this was really hard. I knew I had to be vulnerable. I knew this would expose me because I kept the loss of my mom to myself.”
Using her friend Tori Rowe as a model, Barnes started her photo essay with a bright shot of Rowe surrounded by butterflies and vibrant flowers. The images explore the stages of grief and place the viewer in the experience.
“There’s hope at the end,” Barnes said of the last photograph in the series. “You heal but in a different way.”
In “Becoming a Big Sister,” Mayra Bojorquez wanted her photo essay to take up new life and the human spirit. The images focus on a family welcoming their newborn child into the world with their young, firstborn daughter present.
“My favorite aspect of the shoot was the connection with the family,” Bojorquez said. “We shared something so intimate together that I feel like we still have a bond.”
Mike Self, an automotive journalist, used the opening reception to share photographs that document his area of interest. He took photos of Alex Gambino, who owns Gambino Kustoms in San Jose.
“It was my excuse to talk to him,” Self said. “He lives and breathes this culture.”
Other works on display in the ARTspace Annex include Marisa Duran’s series “Clowning,”; Ryan Campbell’s aerial shots of San Benito County taken with a drone; Susan Echaore-McDavid’s images of flowers; selections from Vanessa Renee Steger’s “Hollister” series; Rene Rodriguez’s local landscapes; and Lisa Robinson-Ward’s photographs showing her point of view while giving birth to her daughter.
The San Benito Arts Council will have a second public viewing of the show on July 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the street festival in downtown Hollister.