B&W nature photography exhibit debuting at LC this week

Laredo College’s latest exhibit will excite photography and nature lovers alike with a variety of breathtaking sights from across the United States.
LC Art Faculty Matthew Jessie’s “Temporal Nature” is an ongoing series of black and white photographs emphasizing the importance for greater consideration of the natural world in the 21st century. The opening reception is slated for Thursday, Nov. 10 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Martha Fenstermaker Memorial Visual Arts Gallery. Admission is free and open to the public.
The exhibit will be on display until Dec. 16. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Since the summer of 2018, this work has led him to explore what still remains of seemingly untouched wilderness in the southwestern deserts and southeastern forests of the United States. Traversing in solitude into remote landscapes, often for miles, Jessie searches for ways to create visual interpretations of his experiences in the land, engaging with the non-human world in ways that bridge a perceived lack of connection between man and nature.
“These photographs visualize my hope that not all is yet lost, while acknowledging the dire predictions for the future of our planet,” Jessie said. “In light of these predictions, I feel driven to share through my intuitive practice a depiction of these seldom-visited, wild places that accentuates photography’s abilities to both trace and transform. Ultimately, alluding through metaphor toward what purely scientific data can’t­­−the sublimity of nature.”
Devoid of any direct evidence of man, the images point toward our inseparable relationship to nature through poetic uses of visual language. They are meant to function as archetypal manifestations of what will be lost as a result of environmental threats and the evolving recognition of our place within the Anthropocene.
Jessie began teaching at Laredo College at the beginning of 2022. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from East Tennessee State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Arizona State University.
Originally from the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Tennessee, he developed a particularly close relationship with the natural world at an early age. This affinity for the land continues to influence his work as an artist.
Although he has been a photographer for most of his life, it was about 15 years ago that he began using the medium of photography as an artistic outlet. After teaching photography for several years, he notes that seeing students learn to use their cameras in expressive ways is always rewarding and keeps him inspired as an educator.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to present my photographs to the Laredo community,” the Tennessee photographer said. “It is my hope that everyone who visits the exhibition will leave with a new appreciation for the medium of photography.”
For more information, contact the Visual and Performing Arts Department at (956) 721-5224.