Photographer Dean Traver likes to provide a glimpse of the countryside as he sees it.
Anyone can observe Traver’s work now through Dec. 30, as Traver’s display — aptly named — “Life As I See It,” is on display at First Central Gallery, located in the lobby of the Operahouse Theatre, in downtown DeWitt.
Traver, 85, who lives in Mount Vernon, said he has enjoyed photography his entire life. His dad had a darkroom and let him help and take pictures. He also developed an interest in video in the 1980s and worked in video production since 1985, including as operator of the public television service in Mount Vernon and Lisbon. That service ended with over 5,000 video programs having aired.
Traver said his exhibit at First Central Gallery is a collection of things he hopes he can capture realistically that will give him and others joy, memories and satisfaction.
“There are a lot of varied subjects, heavy on nature, landscape and scenery,” he explained.
While he still completes some video work, Traver said he is going back to photography as he “matures in his life.”
“I go through life day by day, seeing things that have a call to me,” Traver related. “Beautiful things, special things, meaningful things, ordinary things in a different setting that I would like to capture and preserve for others to see. So, I take photographs. I see a person, thing or scene and I think, that would make a beautiful photograph, and then it’s my job to try to capture what I am seeing with my eyes.”
While he said he doesn’t have a photographic specialty, Traver said among his favorites are old buildings and barns because he says they are disappearing too fast. Traver also enjoys photographing courthouses for their architecture.
At the moment, Traver is displaying his work in five full-time galleries, including First Central.
He hopes by sharing his work he inspires others in more ways than one.
“I like having folks enjoy the viewing, hoping to encourage them to visit some of these areas themselves,” Traver said. “And try their hand at photography. And if someone purchases one (of his photos), it helps pay for my avocation.”
Traver said sometimes he is torn between color and black and white photos. Traver loves a beautiful, colorful scene, but for some photos, black and white makes a person see the subject itself without the distraction of color … which is good, too.
For Traver, photography simply gives him a lot of pleasure; developing and printing something that others enjoy and appreciate is his reward.
Traver believes the process of creating photographs, particularly the travel involved in seeking out new and different subjects and spaces to capture, is good for a person’s mind, body and soul.
“I think it was Samuel Clemens (who) said, ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness,’” he related. “Sounds good to me. I hope folks do more … maybe it would end some of that.”