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Photographer Jim Tretick Shares his Visions of France in On-Campus Exhibit

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Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus is featuring the work of local photographer Jim Tretick in an exhibit called Visions of France. His photography will be on display from Nov. 13-Jan. 19 at 9605 Medical Center Drive in Rockville. All art and photography exhibits on campus are free and open to the public.

Hopkins Happenings asked Tretick to tell us about his photography.

Hopkins Happenings: Tell us about yourself.  
Tretick: I love people. Put me anywhere, any time, and I’ll make new friends, especially if I have my cameras with me. What I’m learning is it is never too late to start something new, so I’ve begun to explore travel writing to combine words and pictures into a different way of telling a story. How cool is that?

Hopkins Happenings: Tell us more about the travel writing.
Tretick: My partner and I have begun to document our visits to local places in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The idea is to wander. First, we plan to drive south and then head west, stopping for as long as we feel like in whatever place that interests us. We’re going to interview people we meet along the way, write reviews of places that excite us, and blog about our experiences. We also plan to teach what we know–creative writing, energy healing, math, entrepreneurship– and help people as best we can to find their own sense of freedom. We are just getting the hang of it and finding our voices, but you can read what we’ve written so far on our blog, 

Hopkins Happenings: Is your career in photography or something else? 
Tretick:  My professional background is in technical writing and editing, but photography is still my first love. I have had a bunch of jobs working with a camera in my life. I've photographed people in the studio, fashion shows and churches. I've shot real estate, which isn't as much fun because you can't get a house to pose and smile. The other part of my career has been technical writing and editing. Writing fiction, even historical fiction, is a big stretch for me. I’ve been trained to take out all of the fluff. Now I’m trying to expand the fluff.

Hopkins Happenings: How’d you get into photography? 
Tretick: My love of photography started in junior high school. We had a project for social studies class and I took a bunch of portraits. Fun! My family purchased some cameras the next year and we went on a three-week trip to Europe. Nobody budgeted for film. We shot more than 3,000 slides. I was hooked.

The school project was faces. We were to capture people’s expressions. Some images were posed, but the best ones came from candid situations. Later in my career while shooting posed images, I still wanted candid images within the shoot -- even in the studio when the subject knows you’re pointing a camera at them.

On our trip, we photographed the sights, but we photographed a lot of people on the streets and in restaurants and shops also.

Hopkins Happenings: What is your approach? What is your inspiration?  
Tretick: I'm a true photographer in my book. I create the final image within the camera. I use very little post-production to alter the image later. That, to me, is a whole other art form.  I 'see' with the camera. Anyone can teach someone how to use a camera, but it is more difficult to teach someone to 'see' with their own eyes. Once you can visualize the image you want to capture with your eye, getting the camera to reproduce it should be easy. 

Hopkins Happenings: What do you hope viewers of your photographs experience upon seeing it?
Tretick: I want the viewer of my images to feel they were there with me when the image was taken. I want them to feel like they are in the photograph and can experience the scene or the setting.

We went to France in May 2013. We wanted to explore Paris, Honfleur, Bayeux, and Cherbourg, and walk the D-Day invasion beaches in Normandy. This exhibit shows a little bit of a cross-section of that trip. And, as much as I like photographing people, if I don’t want people in the images, I wait until they are out of the way before I take the photograph. I have a collection from Williamsburg with nary a tourist in any of the images.

CATEGORY: The Arts, In The Community