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Isolation and Connections in the Ozarks

Isolation and Connections in the Ozarks

(in conjunction with the 2016 Ozarks Studies Symposium)


Four area photographers will be featured in a photo exhibit themed “Isolation and Connections in the Ozarks.” Artists providing works include Kelly Albin, Bruce Carr, Dennis Crider, and Patty Ingalls.

This fascinating exhibit will be on display September 12 through October 5 in the Gallery at the Center located on the mezzanine at the West Plains Civic Center. The exhibit is available for viewing during normal operating hours for the Civic Center.

The exhibit was prompted by the theme of the Ozarks Studies Symposium, which will be held September 23 and 24 at the West Plains Civic Center. The artists were invited to provide their own distinctive interpretation of the Symposium theme, to be represented through their photography. The exhibit demonstrates the artists’ view of how the Ozarks region has been viewed as a place of isolation and/or connection.

Kelli Albin graduated from West Plains High School in 1984. Albin went on to attend Oral Roberts University, where she majored in Commercial Art graduating in 1987. Returning to West Plains she attended MSU where she earned a teaching certificate in Art and Special Reading and received her Master’s degree in Elementary Education.

Albin taught at West Plains Elementary and Howell Valley Schools, and is currently teaching K-12 art at Dora R-III. She also teaches photography at MSU-West Plains. In addition to teaching, she enjoys photography, drawing, painting, jewelry making, and writing and illustrating children’s books. Five of her books are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Bruce Carr was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved with his family to Mountain View, Missouri, graduating from Liberty High School. After college his career history includes work in the food service industry, factory supervisor and visual inspector, care-taker, real-estate appraiser, and restaurant management. After experiencing a detached retina, he apprenticed with photographer Bob Fleming at Fleming Foto in West Plains. Fleming appreciated his “good eye for photography.”

Carr’s photographic work includes wedding, art and nature photos. Carr says, “I had painted before so that had an influence on how I approached my photography. I was influenced by the naturist paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, Georges Seurat and Claude Monet. I think it’s a shame that people don’t really look at what’s around them. There is beauty in the simplest thing and everywhere you look there is something interesting to see.”

Dennis Crider has always had an interest in photography, and at age 4 he took his first photograph during a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park. The picture of Old Faithful blowing its top caught his father’s attention. “Perfectly centered,” he said. That was the start of it all.

Growing up in Wichita, Kan., Dennis always had a camera in his hand. He ventured for the action when neighborhood boys built a ramp and pushed their wooden homemade go-carts into the air. He just had to capture the moment. His interest led to further studies and employment at a photo processing facility in Wichita, as well as work as school photographer in high school and college. That combination of schooling and training led to a job at the West Plains Daily Quill where he worked for 39 years before retiring in 2008.

Since then he has divided his time between travels with his cameras and showing his growing collection of photographs in various exhibits and at festivals in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Three times he was chosen out of thousands of photographers from around the world as a finalist in the Best of Nature Photography Show hosted by the San Diego Natural History Museum. One of his photos also was a finalist in Cowboys and Indians magazine’s annual photography contest in 2011.

This fall Dennis will be selling photographs during Silver Dollar City’s National Harvest & Cowboy Festival in Branson. Many of the images in this exhibit were taken in May during a 130-mile stagecoach journey in the panhandle of Texas billed as “The Last Stage to Matador.” The stagecoach, along with its owners Cowboy Rick and Arkansas Bev Hamby, will be on display at Silver Dollar City adjacent to Dennis’s booth. That festival is from Sept. 14 through Oct. 31

Patty Ingalls developed her passion for photography at an early age, playing with her parents’ equipment as they progressed from disc camera to 110 to 35mm. As a high school senior she received her first 35mm camera. As a photography student at Missouri State University, she began to work with other camera formats. With an Art minor (emphasis in Photography) Patty spent countless hours learning about proper exposures, composition, film developing in color and black and white, as well as print development in the darkroom. She combined her passion for photography with her Bachelor’s in Social Work and created a photo journal of the homeless in Springfield, as well as patients in a Springfield nursing home. These photo projects solidified her passion for creating images that capture the essence of a person, and remind us of the dignity of a human soul.

In 2007, after a ten-year hiatus to raise 4 children, Ingalls reluctantly made the switch from film to digital photography. In 2011 she began a new project to chronicle the aftermath and healing process in Joplin, Missouri after the catastrophic tornado devastated the town. Years later, she still returns to Joplin to continue capturing images of healing. Ingalls’ award winning work has been published in various magazines, newspapers, TV and websites. Her body of work ranges from portraits & still life, to sports & events, to landscapes, waterfalls and storms.

In 2015, Ingalls opened her studio (“Patty Ingalls Photography”) in beautiful historic downtown West Plains, and she began her second business, The Zizzer Zone, to chronicle the efforts of local high school varsity students. In her spare time Patty can be found chasing waterfalls and thunderstorms. You can find examples of Patty’s work at or on Facebook “Patty Ingalls Photography”. Also, visit or on Facebook “The Zizzer Zone”.

A Meet the Artists reception will be held on Thursday, September 22, from 5-7 p.m. on the mezzanine at the West Plains Civic Center. Refreshments will be provided. This exhibit is co-sponsored by the West Plains Civic Center and the West Plains Council on the Arts, with partial funding provided by Missouri Arts Council, a stage agency.