by Raechel Fittante
A reception honoring the photographers of the “Sharing the Joy” photo collection—Leona Ikenberry, Gerry Pence and Pat M. Wright—was held last night in the Irene Carlson Gallery.
The University of La Verne Photography Department opened the show on May 1, which contains various combinations of traditional black and white and color photographs taken by the three amateur photographers. Each photographer has close ties with ULV and pursues the art of photography as an avocation and expression of unique life perspectives.
“Sharing the Joy” honors the three photographers of each individual group of pictures, and presents to ULV tangible images of the private moments in the lives of each artist projected through their pictures.
Gary Colby, associate professor of photography, said, “This group show is mounted as a tribute to these individuals, who exemplify the attitude and energy of a life-long learner.”
The show will be on display for the remainder of the spring semester.
Ikenberry graduated from McPherson College in Kansas in 1948 and moved to La Verne with her husband Ernest in 1956. Dr. Ernest Ikenberry was a chemistry teacher at ULV for 33 years, and Leona spent 20 years at the La Verne Church of the Brethren as the Christian education director.
Her interest in photography grew over the years as she took pictures of everyday life and people, and was encouraged by a friend to “do more.”
Ikenberry photographs aspects of life she sees as beautiful. “It is interesting to me to see her world—she has such a positive outlook and photographs what she thinks is pretty,” Colby said.
Ikenberry’s collection includes photo note cards, which are pictures of scenes attached to notebook paper of various colors. The photo note cards began as a hobby that she made and presented to people as gifts, but evolved into a small business venture; her note cards are now sold at five locations, including the University Bookshoppe.
“My main joy continues to be sharing the beauty that I see through my camera with friends locally, across the U.S. and internationally,” said Ikenberry.
A 35mm automated camera with color negative film is used by Ikenberry to produce her pictures.
Pence, another contributor to “Sharing the Joy,” received his bachelor’s degree from La Verne College in 1949 and afterwards worked for one year in the Office of Public Relations.
His interest in photography began in Germany while involved in the Brethren Volunteer Service and International Work camp program, and heightened while he taught study skills at Bonita High School. Both were experiences that enabled him to see news aspects of life. Aside from an interest in picture taking, Pence is also a musician.
Colby describes Pence as “an all-around great guy. Many photographers have an interest in music. Gerry is a fine musician.”
“There is a sense of satisfaction in photography, a fulfillment,” said Pence. “There is a joy in artistic expression. And, there is a joy in sharing.”
Pence describes the photographic process as a “wonderful mystery that happens before my eyes from the first appearance of the image in the developer tray, through the re-touching, matting and framing. The whole process is a revisitation of scenes or persons.”
Pence recently worked at the Tri-Community School of Photography with instructor Don Meyer and heeds that there are only “three factors for a photographer to remember—exposure, focus, and composition.”
He commends the Photography Department at ULV and feels “honored to be a part of the show.”
Pence’s photographic work is formulated in black and white and color, medium and large size pictures. He frequently photographs landscapes and family portraiture.
Wright, born in Belfoir, Wash., earned her bachelor’s degrees in sociology and physical education from La Verne College and a master’s in recreation from Indiana University. She is currently the executive director for Camp La Verne.
Four of her six grown children attended ULV and she is married to Dr. Owen Wright, professor of physical education and head soccer and baseball coach at ULV. Her photographs document the various members of her family.
“This project comes out of a deep love for and appreciation of the uniqueness of each member of my family, not only in appearance but in style and outward presentation of an inner being,” Wright said.
The 16 prints in the collection were taken in 1989 with a 35mm camera and a larger four by five inch view camera.
“Through this work, I hope to leave a legacy,” said Wright,“a record to pass down to my children and their succeeding families.”
The “Sharing the Joy” collection will be on display in the Irene Carlson Gallery until Friday, June 2. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students and faculty are encouraged to partake in “Sharing the Joy” and view the expression of art as conveyed by the photographers.