The assignment given to cornea transplant recipients is simple: take pictures of the things you appreciate being able to see now. The result is a wide variety of subject matter — everything from food, to family, to beautiful landscapes, to abstract shadows. In fact, each photograph tells a story. What is difficult, is choosing which of the photos will hang on the wall of the RedLine Contemporary Art Center in Denver's RiNo Arts District as part of the Circle of Light Photo Project's 2019 exhibit.
The Circle of Light Photo Project features photographs taken by people whose blindness was cured by corneal transplants. It serves as both a public education effort and a fundraiser for the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank, the nonprofit organization responsible for the recovery and transplantation of donated eye tissues in Colorado and Wyoming. With over 250 photographs submitted, deciding which will make up the exhibit is no easy task. So, the eye bank turned to a panel of professional photographers for help.
“At the eye bank, we know the backstory of the transplant recipients who took the photos,” said Robert Austin, the eye bank’s public relations manager, “it makes it harder for us to choose, so we look to a panel of professional photographers to evaluate the photos without knowing the story behind them. Their professional photographer's eye often sees things in a photo we don't see right away.” The professionals are also on hand to perform any editing that needs to be done, such as color correction or addressing size and resolution issues so the photos can be printed for the exhibit.
The professional photographers — all volunteers — sorted through hundreds of photographs to select those that will be featured on the walls of the gallery from August 13 to the 24. The run ends with a big artists' reception on Saturday, August 24, where the photos will be auctioned off to benefit the eye bank’s sight-saving mission. Hundreds of other items — from safaris in South Africa and fishing trips in Uruguay to dinner at local restaurants — will also be available at the auction. The $40 standard ticket includes the exhibit, the silent auction, a corneal blindness experience area, food, wine and beer, and music by DJ Ginger Perry. Ticket are limited and on sale now.
The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank sends its heartfelt gratitude to these talented photographers. Check out their own work on the links below!
Stephanie Burchett www.stephanieburchett.com
Stephanie Burchett is a Lecturer of Photography at the University of Colorado Denver. Stephanie received her MFA in Studio Art from the University of Arizona and holds a BA in Graphic Arts from the University of Northern Colorado. Her creative practice explores themes of home, family and social justice using photography and book arts. Stephanie’s work has been exhibited nationally, internationally, and featured online in Don’t Take Pictures and A Photo Editor and in Denver Westword.
Additionally, Stephanie works as the Marketing and Programs Manager at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her work focuses on providing exhibition opportunities for emerging and mid-career photographers.
Jodie Cassidy Jodie Cassidy Photography
The photo project has special meaning to Jodie Cassidy, who has 22 years of experience as a photographer. Her son, Bryan, died at age 28 and left the legacy of sight through cornea donation. His corneas restored the sight of two men who both live in Dublin, Ireland. Bryan’s donation was facilitated by the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank. “I am grateful Bryan graced our lives for twenty-eight years,” she said. “The light of his candle shines even now through the recipients of his corneas, a glow that brings me comfort despite the ache of his physical absence. It is my highest honor to share that light. I am humbled to donate my time and talent as a professional photographer to select and prepare the photographs for the 2019 Circle of Light Photo Project.”
Patty DiRienzo www.dirienzophoto.com
After more than a decade working as a photojournalist shooting everything from fashion to football Patty DiRienzo took her passion for storytelling beyond the newsroom.
Her authentic style of photography along with a genuine interest in each person's story jumpstarted a successful lifestyle photography business.
A fan of the great outdoors and historical landscapes, Patty was named Artist-in-Residence at Grand Canyon National Park followed by residencies at Petrified Forest National Park and the North Cascades Institute. These unique opportunities offered her the freedom to work on independent projects in places of historical significance and natural beauty while sharing her images with travelers from around the world.
Kellye Eisworth kellyeeisworth.com
Kellye Eisworth is a Denver-based artist utilizing the photographic medium to explore themes of memory, pain, vulnerability, and the concepts of innate and constructed identity. Employing the conventions of traditional studio portraiture, her work focuses on the human body as a cultural and individual text to be read. Though often entering into a dialogue about larger social norms, much of her work is rooted in the autobiographical; whether through direct self- exploration or through empathetic encounters with others, her artistic practice allows her to interpret and understand her own personal history as well as the world around her.
Eisworth has exhibited her work across the country, including First Street Gallery in New York, NY; the MPLS Photo Center in Minneapolis, MN; and The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO. A Louisiana native, she received her BFA in photography from Louisiana State University in 2012 and recently graduated from a masters program in interdisciplinary media arts practice at the University of Colorado in 2016.
Lauren Lang Jacobin Photography
Lauren Lang is a former broadcast journalist and current freelance photographer, videographer, and owner of Jacobin Photography, a Denver, CO-based company that specializes in professional headshots. In her spare time, she crochets hats for stuffed animals, gardens with the intent of taking pictures of the flowers should they live, and terrorizes local residents while running through area parks with her camera screaming, “Birds!”. Lauren is excited to be a part of the Circle of Light Photo Project, as she also has a personal connection to eye, organ and tissue donation. Her cousin recently received a heart transplant and is doing great!
Sharifa Moore sharifamoore.com
Sharifa Moore received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of Colorado Denver. She was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Award from the Department of Visual Arts and completed both degrees Summa Cum Laude. Moore is a visual artist that utilizes photography and installation in her work — exploring themes of family, catharsis, and identity. She was the recipient of the EUReCA Fellowship and enjoyed the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy. Her research interests include archival processes, art preservation, post-WWI art and influences, and women and gender studies in the contemporary landscape. Moore currently works at the Emmanuel Art Gallery on the University of Colorado Denver campus.
Michael Trupiano www.michaeltrupiano.com
Michael Trupiano is a Denver based artist utilizing 21st century technologies with 19th century printing processes creating hand-made photographic based prints. He is particularly interested in how all forms of light, both artificial, moonlight, and sunlight, change the nature of the object being photographed; and as a result how we perceive the world around us. Embracing digital tools he creates a master image that is then printed in his “dim room” in Platinum / Palladium; recently he has added the gum bichromate process to these prints to create different monochromatic expressions of the work. Since 2008 his prints have been exhibited in juried group exhibitions around the country and in 2016 images from his ongoing series Starry Starry Night was published by Blue Mitchell as part of his annual Diffusion publication “which focuses on artfully
crafted photo processes”.
Chasnee Zeller North Star Photography
Chasnee Zeller is a student at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming. Having been a lifelong photography buff, Chasnee started her own photography business in Lovell, Wyomng, last year. Chasnee is thrilled to be a part of the Cirlce of Light Photo Project and extends her personal thanks to everyone who has put so much time into making it happen.