'Maximum simplicity'

Photographer walks in the footsteps of Ansel Adams

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Ian McVey always remembers a piece of advice he read from famed photographer Alfred Stieglitz: "Try for maximum simplicity with maximum detail."

It's advice that plays out in his stark black and white photographs of nature.

° Opening reception for "A Sense of Place; Three Colorado Artists Share Their Vision of the Landscape in Their Unique Style" including mixed-media works by Elizabeth Buhr, black and white photography by Ian McVey and landscape paintings by Sallie Smith ° 5 to 7 p.m. today ° Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St. ° 879-9008

"I usually go back to a place half a dozen times to see what time of day would be best," McVey said. "I work on my composition for the image as I go back for weeks or months or years."

McVey's photos hark back to a bygone era when men such as Edward Weston and Ansel Adams carried heavy, large format cameras out into the wild to capture on film what never before had been captured.

McVey's images of Yosemite and the Rocky Mountains are reminiscent of the ones taken mid-century by the members of Group f/64.

The visual connection is no accident.

McVey takes his photos with large-format cameras and uses the Zone System, invented by Ansel Adams, wherein the photographer examines the range of tones, "exposing for the shadows, developing for the highlights."

McVey tries for the greatest contrast within his blacks, whites and shades of gray.

In the end, his goal is to draw out the feeling of the place he was photographing.

His photo of a church in Estes Park has an otherworldly quality. McVey saw the image by chance as he drove by.

"The weather was breaking in and out of the clouds," he said. "There was an austere, serene and powerful beauty there. That's what made me take the picture, and that was the feeling I wanted to impart."

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