Gwinnett Historical Courthouse: City Lights Exhibition

Lawrenceville, GA
September 22, 2022 – January 22, 2023

The email arrived in May, asking if I would be interested in having a gallery display for four months.  This was new to me.  I frequently submit images to juried exhibitions, in hopes of having an image chosen to be part of a gallery display.  But never has someone reached out to me, and now they were asking for enough prints to display in the halls of a historic building managed by the department of recreation in a county with over a million people.

After sharing a variety of images from me website, I met with the director for a walk though of the area that would display my images. At the end of the walk though, I asked if there was a genre of images that they would like me to display.  She said that it was up to me.  During our conversation she mentioned that she loved one of my images of the Louvre at night.  That was it, I decided display nighttime city images, I had a nice collection of cities at night, that included skyline panoramas and Paris cafes with people enjoying each other’s company after dark.  As we ended our meeting I asked her, “why me?”  There are many photographers to choose from in the Atlanta metropolitan area, so why was I chosen?  She said that she looks at other galleries, publications, websites, and social media to select artists to display.

I spent the next month reviewing and inventorying my images and frames and narrowed my selection down to eighteen images, sixteen in wood frames holding 24×26” matted prints, and four skyline panoramas on 10 x 40” metal prints. Now I needed a title and an artist statement.

City Lights

As a photographer, I wish to convey a mood or emotion that I see and feel when I am capturing an image. This will hopefully translate into an image that invokes curiosity that is not focused on the location, rather on the journey that is being captured. I love to travel, and I am often drawn to details of an area that are not immediately recognizable, if at all. I hope that the viewer will take pause when looking at my images.

After the sun sets, darkness blankets the land, illuminated only by the soft light of the stars and the moon.  Early humans used fire to cook and to continue socialization after dark.  The community experience after sunset, illuminated by fire, continued as we grew into larger communities, and flames were replaced with manmade artificial light.  Illuminating the night with light turns our neighborhoods and communities into magical places.

Chris Anderson’s “City Lights” exhibition brings the captured magic of several beloved cities (Paris, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, Austin, San Francisco, Florence, and Rome) to the walls of the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse for others to enjoy the printed images.

The parks and recreation department hosted an opening reception and I was tasked to supply food and drinks.  I asked mt wife, Mechelle, and two friends, Aggie Nivilinszky and Donna Saxton to help with set up as well as food and drink.  We met on a Saturday to staged and hang the eighteen images.  After posting on social media, we arrive on a Thursday afternoon to set up for the open house reception.  The venue had decorated serving tables and a bar.  We loaded in trays of hors-d’oeuvres and bottles of wine.  The country provided an off-duty police officer since we were serving wine. A harpist with an electric harp provided a nice variety of wonderful music throughout the evening.  My first emotion was that of relief that we had everything set for the reception.  My next feeling was panic that no one would attend our Thursday night reception.

As turned out, we had approximately 80 people!  Many old friends surprised me, to include Tara Jones (whom I had not seen in years), Kimberly Anna-Soisson and her husband (who drove two hours from the mountains), Jenny Rogers, Peg and Larry Jones, Stephany and Steve Roth, our small group, Sheila Crumrine (Suwanee Arts Center President) with her husband and some friends, painter Francoise Lama-Solet, and many more.  I met some new people who dropped by after seeing my post on Instagram.  This was all made possible with help from my wife, friends, and the staff from the Gwinnett Parks and Recreation Department.

I had always dreamed of having a gallery showing of my own; however, I was very content having pieces of my work included in local gallery exhibitions. At the culmination of the four-month long exhibition, I carried the images out to my car with a smile on my face, this was the biggest highlight of my photography journey so far. My photography journey stated when I was fourteen, and just four years prior to this exhibition I started having individual images selected into local gallery exhibitions.

Thank you to all you made it possible and for those who came out to the reception or stopped by during the exhibition. 

Here is to my next big dream!


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