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Two Photo Exhibits

library building on hill

The Jewel on the Hill, Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall

I’ll take a break from my regularly-scheduled photo today to tell you about my two exhibits of local photography. “Of Harps and Fig Leaves” and “Carnegie Photographed”, are once again on display in the Reception Hall at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall. Stop by to peruse them and read the notes on the photos, or if you aren’t local, I have provided links to slide shows of each of the exhibits. Photos are for sale, and each sale benefits the ACFL&MH Capital Campaign.

Of Harps and Fig Leaves, an Exhibit of Photographs

This exhibit of sixteen of my color photographs of Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall includes a variety of views, from grand and distant to detailed and intimate. The exhibit opened for the 2010 benefit event on October 2, Marianne Cornetti Returns, and will hang in the Reception Hall as a permanent exhibit between other shows and exhibits. The Reception Hall is open during regular hours; please visit for more information and directions. I have also included a list of the included images, below, with a link to a brief slideshow of the images.

The genesis of the show

detail of furniture

"Clawfoot", detail of the original organ bench and replica carpet in the Espy Post.

When I bought my first camera, a Pentax K-1000, one of my first subjects was Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall. I lived two doors down, I was practicing with black and white film, and the massive, elegant building surrounded by tall trees was a feast for my eyes.

I’ve been visiting this place for books since before I can remember, but even today looking at the shelves of books interspersed with the tall Corinthian-topped pillars I can still remember feeling very small standing in the quiet of the big room and thinking it was the grandest place that could ever exist.

As an adult, when I began to return again for books, I also began wandering into as many rooms as I could gain access to, enjoying what is now the Reception Hall on a sunny winter afternoon, peeking into the darkness of the Music Hall, imagining myself on the stage.

As renovations began and I was spending more and more time here, all the memories combined with all the activity and inspired an exploration of the space recorded in photos using my new Pentax camera a digital SLR K10D.

library entrance

"Grand Entrance", those limestone pillars and doorway have stood the test of time.

About the Photos

The photos include “The Jewel on the Hill” shown above, one we’ve used repeatedly as the signature image for the facility. Each photo has a story of its own genesis, but this one in particular was a real stroke of luck and timing. I was walking home on a clear, warm spring dusk in late April, 2005, April 24 to be exact, and arrived at the bottom of Library Hill at just this moment. The sky was fading from brilliant turquoise to cobalt, the still-bare trees were etched against it in silhouette, and the grand building itself stood partially lit by the sunset but with all interior and exterior lights on, solid and stately, serving its public in its 104th year. By the time I had snapped a half dozen or so shots the light had changed completely and the moment was gone. That was part of the timing, the other part that they had only temporarily installed the foundation lighting but never used it again,a nd this was part of what gave the building that lovely definition against the dark hilltop. A few minutes earlier or later, the previous or following week, and this photo would never have existed. And it was taken with my first little point-and-shoot 2MP digital camera, I don’t know how it came out as clearly as it did!

Here is a list of the names of the photos in the show, and you can view a quick little slideshow of them here. But you’ll have to visit the Reception Hall to really see them and know the rest of the stories.

1. Grand Entrance, 2003
2. The Jewel on the Hill, 2005
3. Welcoming on a Winter Night, 2008
4. Familiar View, 2007
5. Overarching, 2008
6. Clawfoot, 2010
7. Of harps and Fig Leaves, 2006
8. Hats, 2009
9. Autumn Expectations, 2009
10. Party on the Stage
11. Cubbage Hill, 2009
12. Champagne Reception, 2008
13. Book Stacks, 2005
14. View of Carnegie, 2008
15. The New Seats, 2009
16. Classic Curve, 2007

carnegie photographed logo

“Carnegie Photographed” Photo Exhibit

main street carnegie pa

Spring Dusk on Main Street

This exhibit includes fourteen of my photographs of the town of Carnegie in all seasons, from details to distant views. The exhibit will hang in the Reception Hall as a permanent exhibit between other shows and exhibits along with “Of Harps and Fig Leaves, images of Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall”.

Two Shows in One Room

gallery with musicians

The Night Gallery, 3rd Street Gallery exhibit and jazz

Once we had “Of Harps and Fig Leaves” hung in the room, ACFL&MH executive director Maggie Forbes suggested this show to fill the other walls of the room. The 3rd Street Gallery hosts a show entitled “Carnegie Painted” each year, and as a central point in the community, the Reception Hall of ACFL&MH has been host to paintings from that show through the years. I certainly have enough photos of Carnegie to fill a few rooms, and, as with Harps and Fig Leaves, I had a difficult time choosing only 14 images.

All the photos are 11″ x 14″ framed with white mats and black 16″ x 20″ frames and the consistency of the exhibits in the big room, all photos, same mats and frames, is very appealing.

About the Show

snow falling in cemetery

Softly Falling Snow, Ross Colonial Cemetery on Library Avenue

A camera of some sort goes with me everywhere, and by living and working here in Carnegie, plus a good bit of walking and bicycling the subject of my photos is often my little town.

From local newspapers to Carnegie’s website and map, my photos have often been used to illustrate Carnegie, capturing Main Street at dusk or the Memorial Day Parade, a detail of everyday life gone unnoticed, or a hidden treasure I’ve found while exploring.

A news photo, those used for publicity, is different from an art photo. While many of the photos I have on f ile are perfect for a quick glance in print or web they’re not always the best subjects for permanently-placed enlargement to be seen and studied in detail.

It’s truly been my pleasure to browse six years of photos and choose 14 which I hope will illustrate the familiar beauty of the streets we travel every day.

photo of carnegie from above

Good Night Little Town, a view of Carnegie from a nearby hill

About the Images

The image at the top, “Spring Dusk on Main Street”, is one of my favorites and I think shows the quaint appeal and openness of Carnegie’s Main Street. The decorate street lights are on sensors and come on automatically at dusk, but each of them comes on at a different time. I wanted to catch that pure turquoise sky with enough light to see its color, but not all the lights were on when the sky was best. I had to stake this one out, and returned to Main Street three times during this week to make sure I got the one photo where all the lights are on and the sky is perfect.

Here is a list of the names of the photos in the show, and you can view a quick little slideshow of them here. But you’ll have to visit the Reception Hall to really see them and know the rest of the stories.

Amid the Gold
Banners and Flowers
Good Night Little Town
Icy Berries
Last Day of the Year
Memorial Day
Softly Falling Snow
Spring Dusk on Main Street
Sycamore Sentinels
Tangled Shadows
The Night Gallery

Hours for the exhibit

The Reception Hall is open during regular hours; please visit for more information, directions and contact information. Remember that these exhibits hang between other exhibits and events at ACFL&MH, so please contact me or call Library to be certain the exhibits are up.

Framed prints size and availability

Each image is 11″ x 14″ matted with a plain white mat in a 16″ x 20″ matte-finish black frame. The photos on display are the property of Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, but you can purchase a framed print. Prints are for sale at $75.00 each, and a portion of every sale supports the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.

Canvas prints size and availability

These images are a full 16″ x 20″ printed on quality canvas and gallery-wrapped on canvas stretchers (the canvas wraps around the stretchers and is printed all the way around) for a clean, modern look. Canvas prints are not on display, but you can purchase one by specifying you’d like the canvas print. Canvas prints are also for sale at $75.00 each, and a portion of every sale supports the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.

You can purchase them directly through the Library & Music Hall or contact me with your interest.

Again, the slideshows…

Of Harps and Fig Leaves

You can view a quick little slideshow of them here.

Carnegie Photographed

You can view a quick little slideshow of them here.

Treasures Left Behind

photo of the espy post at acfl&mh

Treasures Left Behind

I’ve been immersed in the re-opening of the Capt. Thomas Espy Post No. 153 of the Grand Army of the Republic—yes that’s really its full name—at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, and most of the photos I’ve taken in the past few weeks have been of the room or of the Lincoln Photos Exhibit. This is one view of the room including the cases with the uniforms and small artifacts collected by post members so long ago.

G.A.R. posts were formed by veterans of the Civil War as a fraternal organization for social meetings and assistance and support to veterans and their families. At one time there were about 7,000 of them around the country, now there are about a half dozen still in existence. This newly restored room now has the distinction of being perhaps the most intact of these posts in the country.

It was installed in an existing room in the Library in 1906 an members met there until the last one died in 1937, at which time the door was simply left locked until sometime in the mid-1980s when the 9th Pennsylvania Reserves re-enactor unit undertook to care for it. Water damage, vermin, dirt and time took its toll on the munitions, uniforms, books and various artifacts, but surprisingly, much of the content was still in the room and could be restored.

Read more about the room by visiting, and plan a real visit to the room. I’m not so interested in military matters, but I do love history. All this was left for us to learn.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln

photo of exhibit of lincoln photos

Aspects of Lincoln: 100 Photographic Portraits of the 16th President

This is a preview of “Aspects of Lincoln: 100 Photographic Portraits of the 16th President of the United States”, opening tonight at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.

I had the honor to design and hang this show. To say that Abraham Lincoln is and always has been a person I admired is an understatement, and any way I can honor his memory, in poetry, art, music or any other creative medium, is something I do with joy.

In conjunction with the reopening of the restored Espy Post room Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, Pittsburgh photographer Norman Schumm offered to loan his collection of “100 photographic portraits of Abraham Lincoln” assembled by Stephan Lorant for the book entitled Lincoln: a Picture Story of His Life.

The photos had only been displayed for one night previously, and were mounted on two-ply mounting with their number and an explanatory paragraph accompanying. The only way to display these for the public to see over a six-week period was to have specially-sized mats cut and frame them, which I did along with planning where and how they’d hang in the Reception Hall of ACFL&MH. I secured display panels from the McMurray Art League, displaying 83 of the photos in one solid angle of photos. I thought the portraits were individually stunning and interesting, but all together, displayed in identical frames, a viewer can study each of them individually, then step back and see the impact of the professional life of this incredible president.

The exhibit will continue through the end of April.