Photography Show at Belen Art League


In 2010, the Belen Art League wanted to bring a few more people through its doors and thought photography might be one way to do it, says CeCe Aragon, a BAL volunteer.

Ungelbah Daniel-Davila-News-Bulletin photo: Rosalind Ogawa, left, stands with Malvern Stevens and Jamie Ford at the Belen Art League’s Spring Photography Show. Ogawa received first-place recognition, and Ford received third place in the Professional category, while Stevens received first place in the Non-Professional category. The photo hanging at the far right, by William Pearsan, won Best of Show

Four years later, the BAL Spring Photography Show is a bigger hit than ever, drawing in 14 photographers and 49 photos in the categories of Student Beginner, Non-Professional and Professional.

On Friday Michael Ceschiat, head of the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus Art Department, walked the rooms of the Becker Street gallery, judging the dozens of unique images displayed throughout, listening to his emotional responses to determine who would take home the first-, second- and third-place ribbons in each category and the coveted Best of Show.

“The judge chose the picture that spoke to him and emitted some kind of emotional response,” said Aragon.

Best of Show went to William Pearson’s photo of a crumbling adobe with a horse taking a mid-day siesta in it’s shadow, his head resting in a window frame.

Aragon said Ceschiat chose the photo, appropriately titled “Midday,” because the structure is such a quintessential New Mexican scene and the equine added a humorous touch.

In the Student Beginner category, Monika Martin took first for her photo “Old Bar in Mountainair,” and third place for “Broken Vase,” while second place was won by Nikki Morgan for her photo “One Love, One Nation.”

In the Non-Professional Category, Malvern “Mal” Stevens won first place for “Quarai, Salinas Pueblo Mission” and second for “Belen Water Tower,” and third place went to Geni Hatch’s photo “We Are Packed and Ready.”

Honorable mention in that category was given to CeCe Aragon’s “I Hate War” photo.

In the Professional category, Rosalind Ogawa received the first-place ribbon for her photo “Staircase in the Woods,” and second place for “Mandala Dissolution,” while Jamie Ford took home third for her photo “Room with a View.”

Ogawa said she has been working in photography for around 70 years, since she was a child helping her father in his darkroom in their home from the time she could walk.

“My dad gave me a camera he brought back from Germany after the war,” Ogawa said. “I think he found it in the rubble in Berlin. It was a tiny little box camera.”

Ogawa, who now shoots primarily with digital, said her interest in photography has to do with the process of focusing on details, preserving experiences and the “high” you get when you find something you enjoy looking at.

“I get high just looking at shadows,” she says. “I’ve never had the greatest memory in the world either, so it’s a way to document and remember things.”

Ford is a multi-media artist whose artistic eye lends itself naturally to the realm of photography.

“I’ve been snapping photos my whole life,” Ford says, adding that her grandchildren are among her favorite subjects. Her photo, “Room with a View,” captured the image of a bird house nestled in the trees in Florida in late November when she was visiting family.

“I knew as soon as I took the picture that it was one of my all-time favorite that I’ve taken,” she says.

Ford says photography allows her to capture a moment in time and focus on elements that could be ignored in the rush of the world.

Stevens, who also paints in watercolor, is another life-long photographer that credits the craft as “a fun hobby.”

“When I was a boy, all we had were little ‘brownie box’ cameras and I was never satisfied with the pictures they made,” Stevens said.

So when he got into his 20s, he purchased his first 35mm film camera. Then, after serving in the military for 6 1/2 years, he went back to college to finish his degree, where he took photography classes.

“It was just something I couldn’t get away from,” he says. “It’s sort of record keeping, but you also look for pretty things and try to get a good angel on it.”

The photography show will be up at the BAL, located at 509 Becker Ave. in Belen, until May 17. The gallery is open from 12-4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday.

-- Email the author at