2006-06-10 / News

Cameron Takes Viewers 'Above' Manoogian Exhibit

Aerial Photographs Are Work of Jane Manoogian's Father
By Leslie Rott

Jane and Richard Manoogian in front of the 4-foot by 5-foot aerial photograph, "Transamerica Pyramid in the Fog," taken in 1995 by Robert Cameron, Mrs. Manoogian's father. The photographs in the exhibit, "Above: The Aerial Photography of Robert Cameron," were on display at the Presidio in San Francisco before coming to Mackinac Island. The exhibit will be at Grand Hotel until October, and it is Mr. Cameron's hope that the photographs will then be sent to New York. Jane and Richard Manoogian in front of the 4-foot by 5-foot aerial photograph, "Transamerica Pyramid in the Fog," taken in 1995 by Robert Cameron, Mrs. Manoogian's father. The photographs in the exhibit, "Above: The Aerial Photography of Robert Cameron," were on display at the Presidio in San Francisco before coming to Mackinac Island. The exhibit will be at Grand Hotel until October, and it is Mr. Cameron's hope that the photographs will then be sent to New York. Looking at the world from above, Robert Cameron's aerial photographs give new dimension to the walls of Grand Hotel's Grand Gallery, Theatre, and dining room, and a special reception was held Sunday, June 4, to celebrate his work.

Since 1991, West Bluff cottagers Jane and Richard Manoogian have collaborated with Grand Hotel for a summer exhibit of art, mostly paintings and bronze castings from their vast American art collection. This year the exhibit is devoted to Mrs. Manoogian's father's impressive works, which arrived here from a showing at the Presidio in San Francisco, where they were held over twice.

Thirty-two photographs in all, the display includes views of New York, California, Michigan, Illinois, and other areas.

They are photographs contained in some 22 books of aerial photographs taken around the world, with three million in print, including a 1994 "Above Mackinac" book that chronicles the Island and Straits of Mackinac area.

Robert Cameron "looks at photography as an art," said Mr. Manoogian. "He thought the area was so beautiful, he wanted to make a book out of it."

The photographs in the hotel's Theatre are of Mackinac Island. Other areas are depicted elsewhere, some even adorn the walls of the executive offices.

"We tried to get different pictures from different parts of the country," said Mr. Manoogian. "I think it's fun for people to see things they know."

The photographs on display are large, six feet or more, and absorb the viewer in their detail.

"I've had time to learn composition," said Mr. Cameron, who is 95. "Viewing photography is the best way to understand it."

People are enjoying the exhibits, he noted, because his photographs are "big enough to walk right into."

Mr. Cameron, who lives in California, missed the reception last weekend, but plans to visit Mackinac in August. He told the Town Crier that he always wanted to see his photographs larger.

"Ironically, at the end of my life," he said, "all of my pictures are finally big enough."

He has been taking photographs since he was 10 years old and began his career as a news photographer for the Des Moines Register. In 1969, he published his first "Above" book, "Above San Francisco."

Using a Pentax 6X7 cm camera and seven lenses, most of Mr. Cameron's photographs are taken from a helicopter. For the "Above Mackinac" book, he shot the scenes from Island resident Barry BeDour's airplane.

The photographs are in color.

"I'm a color boy... I like color photography" over black and white, Mr. Cameron said.

The transparencies were drum scanned, digitally color corrected, and printed on sixfoot wide rolls of archival paper, which should keep the color from shifting for 80 years.

The exhibit at the Presidio was viewed by 26,000 people from more than 39 countries. Getting the photographs across the country, however, was almost easier than getting them to Mackinac Island, said Mr. Manoogian, where special provisions were needed to bring the rolled prints to the hotel in a special truck, which was ferried on a freight boat.

Mr. Cameron's work will be on display at Grand Hotel until the end of the season in October. He is making arrangements to have them exhibited in New York this fall.

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