Meryl Silver of Bethesda was on a plane showing some of her recent work to a commercial photographer sitting next to her when he said, “ikebana.”
“‘My wife studies ikebana [Japanese flower arranging] —this reminds me of that,’” Silver recalls the passenger commenting about her minimalist photos of reeds in a pond.
Part of a collection of 15 images called “Simplicity Within,” Silver’s work is on display at Kentlands Mansion to Jan. 27.
Also exhibiting are Judy Gross, who lives in Kentlands, and Marge Wasson, who lives in Chevy Chase.
The free exhibit, open by appointment, is titled “Three Women and Their Cameras.” The exhibitors each have contributed 15 photos, which are available for sale.
An attorney specializing in international tax law, Silver says she has been taking representational photographs for years.
When she knew she’d be exhibiting at Kentlands Mansion, she decided to take some black-and-white photos of reeds in a pond.
Silver likes the angular lines of the reeds and their reflections in the water but capturing that on film was difficult because of clutter caused by leaves and other vegetation.
So Silver decided to use a computer to not only pare down the photo to capture the structures she saw in the reeds but also to color it.
“It’s my first abstract work,” says Silver, who says until now she has not enjoyed using a computer to manipulate images.
Silver also says that when she began the project, she had no idea how unexpectedly it would turn out.
“It’s totally subconscious that this happened — wow,” she says about her delight in the serendipitous turn in technique.
Also exhibiting is Judy Gross, who has lived in Kentlands for 19 years.
Most of Gross’ pieces are from her self-published book, “The Saga of Kentlands.” An anthology, the book includes her interviews with residents and photos she has taken over the years on the planned “new urbanist” community’s pathways through woods and around ponds.
A retired art teacher and designer for the home furnishings industry, Gross says she has been taking photos for more than 25 years.
“I enjoy capturing the moment,” she says. “It’s wonderful to look at. Photographs bring back all the memories.”
Also featured will be a collection of work by Wasson called “Pattern Play.” A marketing consultant, Wasson focus on the patterns she sees around her, including patterns in nature.
Silver says her 15 photos in the exhibit represent a kind of breakthrough for her.
“It’s kind of a whole different direction for me,” she says about the development of a new technique and a new sensibility about her own work.
“I love it. I’m going to stay for with this for a while,” she says.