“NATURE FROM THE OZARKS AND BEYOND”
A photographic exhibition to showcase the grandeur of nature
Featuring the photography of Bob Cunningham
West Plains Council on the Arts (WPCA) will host an exhibition of outstanding photographs by local artist Bob Cunningham, titled “Nature from the Ozarks and Beyond,” in the Gallery at the Center, West Plains Civic Center. The exhibit will be available for viewing from September 17 through October 29, 2022. The Gallery, on the mezzanine, is open to the public during regular Civic Center hours.
“Bob has visited hometowns throughout the country and beyond to interact with his subjects,” says Kathleen Morrissey, WPCA President. “Whether they are animals, people or landscapes, there is a quality of connection, something familiar. As I admire the beauty and creativity of his work, I find my mind drawn to the question ‘how in the world did he get this shot?’ To ponder such questions is a gift of this experience.“
Cunningham is a life-long Missourian who has lived primarily in the Ozarks. He developed an interest in photography after completing a photo-journalism class at the University of Missouri–Columbia in the early 1970s. Cunningham graduated from the University of Missouri in 1976 with a B.S. in Forest Management, and has resided in West Plains, Missouri since 1988.
Cunningham retired in 2010 after 34 years of service with the Missouri Department of Conservation working as a professional forester, and since that time has owned and operated a forest and wildlife management consulting business, plus freelance outdoor photography. His photographic works have appeared in books, videos, and other publications. His wildlife, nature, and landscape images have been captured from the South Pacific, Central America, Caribbean countries, and throughout all North America.
Artist Statement – “People often ask how I find my wildlife subjects and landscape compositions. A great image is often the combination of great lighting, great subject matter, and simple luck. When photographing nature subjects, this seldom works out on the first try. Creating wildlife images can require a lot of research and time. You must understand an animal’s biology, its habitat, and daily patterns. Hopefully, the final image shows not only the animal but something about its life and habitat. Wild animals are great photographic subjects because they never complain about their appearance in pictures. However, they have no patience for posing.
Inspirational photos will never happen if the camera remains stored in the bag. The shortest route to success starts by picking up the camera and using it. Treat every day as if a Loch Ness Monster or sasquatch could suddenly appear. A missing camera could be a huge, missed opportunity.
Photography has heightened my awareness of nature. I’m constantly making mental notes of blossoming wildflowers, bird calls, or extraordinary scenery. I strive to make all my images good. In the end, some are clearly better than others. My photography goal is to create artistic images worthy of a lengthy view. Otherwise, the picture is merely a snapshot.”
Bob Cunningham will share some thoughts and the exhibit will be featured at the Opening Reception for the Ozarks Studies Symposium on Thursday September 22, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the Gallery. All are invited to attend, meet the artist, and discuss the pieces. The exhibit is co-sponsored by the West Plains Civic Center and West Plains Council on the Arts, with partial funding provided by Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.