Melissa Farlow, Randy Olson bring ‘Talk of the Town’ to CCA

Photo by Randy Olson

Photo by Randy Olson

Husband and wife photography team Melissa Farlow and Randy Olson bring their stories and their art to Columbia Center for the Arts as part of the September Gallery exhibition titled “Talk of the Town.” Farlow and Olson are photojournalists in the documentary tradition. Even though they are published in LIFE, GEO, Smithsonian and other magazines, they have primarily photographed for the National Geographic Society on more than 50 assignments that have taken them to 50 countries over the past 20 years.

The couple normally works individually, but recently collaborated on an exhibition on display at Columbia Arts in September. The show is a pairing of their individual works from various assignments. As Farlow said, “Randy and I paired photographs that were shot on different assignments — many for National Geographic — over the past 25 years. The images took on different meaning when they were paired and sequenced together than they had originally meant — when you consider their intent within a story. Some pairs are opposites. Other comparisons are similar. Some create a visual pun. Having this third effect was a surprise since neither of us particularly photograph with humor.”

Olson and Farlow will share stories about the assignments that lead to the images on displays and will talk about their experiences traveling and photographing around the world on Friday, Sept. 7 beginning at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Olson’s 29 National Geographic Magazine projects have taken him to many countries in Africa, the Siberian Arctic, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Iceland, Newfoundland, Guyana, American Samoa, Turkey, Republic of Georgia, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, Kamchatka, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Indonesia, Russia, China and the South Pacific.

National Geographic published a book of his work in their “Masters of Photography” series in January 2011. Olson was the Magazine Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition and was also awarded POYi’s Newspaper Photographer of the Year.

Farlow has worked extensively in the American West for National Geographic, driving 20,000 miles for a magazine story and book on public lands and, more recently, documenting mustang herds. Another driving trip took her through South America to chronicle life along the Pan American highway for a National Geographic book titled “The Long Road South.” Other National Geographic Magazine stories of hers feature varied subjects — culture and climate change in the Alps and West Virginia’s mountaintop removal mining. Themes of land and people are chronicled in Alaska’s Tongass Forest, Okefenokee Swamp, Hudson Valley, Meadowlands, National Road, Kentucky Horse Country, Invasive Species, and a photo-biography of landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted.

This event is sponsored by the Ford Family Foundation.

Additional artists will display work in the gallery exploring the ideas of juxtaposition, duality, and connection: Fran Anguilo, Ryan Wise, Laura Wise, Lisa Bren, Diego Espinoza, Rose Szapszewicz, Peny Wallace, Janel Pahl and Casey Caruso. In the lobby is a show with work by Dawn Elle and Linda Reichenbach.

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