Photo by John F. Russell
Photographer Rod Hanna’s work will be featured at the Steamboat Art Museum this summer. The show features work ranging from his days as an award-winning newspaper photographer to his latest images of some of America’s most scenic landscapes.
If you go
Rod Hanna: A 50-year Photography Retrospective events
■ 5 to 8 p.m. Friday: First Friday Artwalk opening reception, FREE at Steamboat Art Museum
■ 10 a.m. Saturday: Photography lecture, $20 at the Masonic Hall & Lodge at 111 Eighth St.
■ 6 p.m. Saturday: Night at the Museum fundraising dinner, $75 at Steamboat Art Museum
See full listings for June's First Friday Artwalk here.
Steamboat Springs Fifty years after Rod Hanna first picked up a 35mm camera at the Davenport Times-Democrat, the fruits of his storied photography career line the walls of the Steamboat Art Museum.
In chronological order, the new exhibit follows Hanna from his first black-and-white news photograph published in 1962 to his recent, vividly colorful digital works of landscape photography.
Even when he began his 25-year marketing career with Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., Hanna never strayed far from his camera, working as a sideline photographer for the Denver Broncos in the 1980s and capturing iconic images of local landscapes.
“This isn’t work,” he said. “I just love to do this. The only work part is putting them into the frames.
“I used to love to go to the dark room and make prints, and now the digital darkroom is the computer and I just love to spend that time processing the pictures I’ve taken.”
“Rod Hanna: A 50-year Photography Retrospective” opens Friday at 5 p.m. during First Friday Artwalk and runs through Oct. 14. On Saturday, Hanna will offer a lecture on photography at 10 a.m. at the Masonic Hall & Lodge across the street from the art museum. The cost is $20. A fundraising dinner with Hanna is at 6 p.m. Saturday and costs $75 per person.
Steamboat Art Museum curator and board president Shirley Stocks said it was an honor for the museum to display Hanna’s wide range of work, which offers a glimpse into Steamboat and America’s past.
“Rod is one of the living legends of Steamboat,” Stocks said. “And it’s such a privilege to have a museum to do an exhibit like this for one of our local legends.”
Hanna’s photographs depict a career that intertwines with the people, places and events of American history. From a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. to memorable images of a young John Elway, Hanna’s photographs have appeared in prestigious publications like Sports Illustrated and National Geographic.
In the early 1970s, Hanna worked for the Kansas City Chiefs, photographing their Super Bowl win in 1970.
After moving to Steamboat in 1975, Hanna said he slowly began to transition into the landscape photography he’s known for today.
“The landscape is all around us,” he said. “This is an incredible place where we live and the light is special; the landscape is special.
“The reason I was drawn to landscape photography was because I’m living right in the middle of it.”
To capture the vast landscapes of the American West, Hanna uses digital technology no one ever dreamed of in the 1960s. High-tech cameras and software, he said, have only made photography more realistic.
“The camera has a very difficult time recording what you can see,” Hanna explained. “The way we get to show what we saw and felt … is by using stitching, by blending exposures.
“You can do so much more with digital,” he said.
His latest new photography venture began just last fall, but several pieces already are on display as a part of the show. Hanna has begun foraying into the night to take pictures of gleaming stars over recognizable land and rock formations, lit by a well-timed appearance by the Milky Way and a glowing quarter-moon.
As impressive as his large color prints look on the walls of the Steamboat Art Museum, Hanna said the advent of digital photography has expanded access to its joys to anyone and everyone.
“It’s just opened it up; it’s opened the door for a huge number of people that can chase their dream,” he said.