Wednesday, April 10, 2013
The Lens Work Gallery is a fine art cooperative tucked in the Village Shops on Highway 17 in the heart of Pawleys Island.
Art on display — nature and landscape photography, watercolors, oil, acrylics and more — is a compilation of work from some of the area’s most lauded artists.
Aside from the talent on exhibition, the gallery itself is a treat; it is modern in feel, well-lit and spaciously designed.
Nine of the gallery’s 10 co-op members are members of Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association, which has more than 1,200 members.
One of the organization’s primary goals is preserving the environment of the Carolinas through members’ photography.
That mission is reflected in most of subject matter displayed at the gallery.
The photography is so realistic customers often reach to touch the canvas. Special techniques — including infrared photography — elevate the appeal of many pieces.
Beach, birds, maritime forest, water lilies, salt and freshwater creeks, and nature takes center stage at the gallery, which is owned by respected photographers Mark Hilliard and Philip Duwel.
Hilliard began dabbling in black and white photography when he was 13, and the hobby quickly became a lasting and important part of his life. Environmental issues are his passion, and his work has been widely published.
Duwel shoots landscapes, architecture, portraits and photographic “studies.” His background is scientific – biology and aircraft technology. Now the coin has flipped and he says he loves capturing the emotions of his subject matter.
“Photography makes me smile. I get to develop a side of myself that is fun. I had never done it, and now I love it.”
The gallery goes an extra mile by offering full immersion excursions to regional sites of note and workshops for new and aspiring photographers, as well as advanced shooters.
There is in-field instruction, as well as classroom sessions.
Anyone with a love of photography, even the inexperienced, is likely to find an appropriate class. Excursions include Charleston, the New River Gorge and others too numerous to detail.
The gallery offers custom framing — sometimes made from the reclaimed wood of old barns, old homes — even the occasional piano.
Pick your piece and they will advise. They also have a Giclée printing system and can handle or consult about archival media — and all other things photography related.
The gallery’s official grand opening is April 26. There will be wine, sangria, soft drinks and hors d'oeuvres. All of the gallery’s artists — many of which are national award winners — will be on hand to interact with attendees.
Although there is a waiting list for a limited number of co-op spaces, Hilliard and Duwel are always seeking new artists.
They are also at the ready to offer advice, instruction and encouragement for aspiring and experienced photographers.
The Lens Work Gallery is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 843-467-0774 for information or visit www.TheLensWorkGallery.com.
You can also find them on Facebook.
By Kimberly Duncan
For The Times