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Dobrowner captures beauty of landscapes

University of La Verne alumnus Gerry Pence and his friend Doug Bro talk with photographer Mitch Dobrowner during the reception for Dobrowner’s exhibition, “Vital Firmament,” in the Carlson Gallery. Pence, who graduated from ULV in 1949, is an avid photographer. He discussed the use of both digital and film prints shown in the gallery. The exhibit runs through April 5. / photo by Mitchell Aleman

University of La Verne alumnus Gerry Pence and his friend Doug Bro talk with photographer Mitch Dobrowner during the reception for Dobrowner’s exhibition, “Vital Firmament,” in the Carlson Gallery. Pence, who graduated from ULV in 1949, is an avid photographer. He discussed the use of both digital and film prints shown in the gallery. The exhibit runs through April 5. / photo by Mitchell Aleman

Karla Rendon
Staff Writer

Students, faculty and supporters of photographer Mitch Dobrowner attended a reception in the Carlson Gallery on Feb. 21 to see the gallery’s newest exhibit, “Vital Firmament.”

With around two dozen photographs made by the New York native, guests enjoyed refreshments as they examined Dobrowner’s landscape photography.

Using a Canon 5D, his photos are centered on storms, fields and mountains in black and white.

“I wanted to show the viewers how I felt when I took the pictures,” Dobrowner said. “It was like documenting the spirits of the landscapes. What inspired me was just how beautiful the planet is and I just wanted to capture how I saw it.”

Although most of Dobrowner’s photographs are centered on natural landscapes, he also included photos of Los Angeles in his exhibit.

Dobrowner said he has heard a lot of negative things about Los Angeles being ugly.

“I just don’t see it like that,” said Dobrowner. “When I first saw L.A. in my early 20s, I saw this amazing landscape. It was awe-inspiring.”

One photograph that caught many viewer’s eyes was a photograph in the gallery titled “Big Cloud.”

The photograph included a large cloud overlooking Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles and the Hollywood Freeway.

“It was a rainy, stormy day when I took the photo,” Dobrowner said. “It was near sunset. I took the photo from Mulholland Drive looking southeast. I scouted areas that I lived near and composed the photo in my mind till I finally got the image.”

“My favorite picture was the big L.A. one,” senior St. Lucy’s Priory High School student Megan Perallez said.

“I live in the area and seeing it from a different angle is fascinating. It’s just so much more than I realized,” she said.

Another person who agreed that “Big Cloud” was a favorite was senior speech communication major Daniel Sillas.

“I like how it has the L.A. skyline. It’s incredible. And I like the contrast of the trees,” Sillas said.

Alumna Leah Heagy said she was happy to return to campus to visit the exhibit.

“I was really excited to get a postcard in the mail,” Heagy said. “I always love when photos are in black and white. I feel that color distracts from the subject.”

“My favorite was ‘Big Cloud,’” said Heagy. “I just think that the lighting and detail were great and you can really see the detail. I’m still wondering what camera he used.”

Although “Big Cloud” was popular among the crowd, junior art major and liberal studies minor Danelle Assanelli’s favorite photograph in the gallery was “Jupiter,” an image of clouds and lightning in a field.

“I feel like the lightning looks so appealing,” said Assanelli. “I want this in my house. The whole composition of the photograph and timing was great. I feel the black and white adds to it and makes the picture more powerful. Storms are already dark so the black and white adds more power.”

Dobrowner traveled to 16 states to finish his project.

“My guide, three other people and myself were traveling 16,000 to 17,000 miles over three years,” he said.

“Each photo is a memory and each one’s a personal experience,” Dobrowner said. “I shoot this for me, but I’m just really lucky that people like them and buy them.”

Karla Rendon can be reached at karla.rendon@laverne.edu.

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