Defense Secretary Hagel and General Dempsey Join the 2014 USO Gala and Honor Six Service Heroes for Acts of Valor

Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 18, 2014

Addressing more than 1,000 guests at the annual USO Gala, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke of the many challenges and adversities that face America as a country. Hagel urged the audience of Washington dignitaries, corporate sponsors and Americans – who gathered in the ballroom at the Washington Hilton – to do their part to keep troops and their families strong. The senior leader also encouraged attendees to continue to support the good work of the USO.

“I am very proud that I have had a small part to play in helping continue to build this institution, many years ago,” said Hagel. “And I have been a strong supporter, not just as the Secretary of Defense but as a former soldier but probably more importantly as an American.”

Dr. J.D. Crouch II, USO President and CEO thanked the group for their support and reflected on his time as an American Ambassador and at the White House as Deputy National Security Advisor, where he was able to witness first-hand the bravery of our men and women in uniform. It was that bravery that inspired Crouch to join the USO in its mission to support troops and military families. Crouch promised to continue the work of those who preceded him, and to sustain the USO as the “national treasure” it has become and to be always by the side of our troops.

“We say at the USO, we will be “Always by their side,” said Crouch. “What does that mean? In times of war and in times of peace, your USO has been a constant reminder to generations of troops and military families, that their country supports them. From the day they join the military, through numerous deployments and moves around the world, to going in harm’s way and transitioning home for what comes next in their lives – the USO is there.”

The annual event is more than an opportunity to honor our troops for their bravery. It is also a time to recognize those who have helped and supported them along their journey. The USO operates with the help of some tens of thousands of volunteers worldwide, who offer a warm hug when our troops feel far from home, a cup of coffee on an early morning and a reminder that no matter where they serve they are not alone. USO Chairman of the Board General Richard B. Myers acknowledged the great good that volunteers deliver on a daily basis through their selfless acts of giving and presented the first awards of the evening, the USO Volunteer of the Year Award. Previously awarded to one outstanding volunteer of the year, this year the USO recognized one stateside volunteer and one overseas volunteer for their exemplary service.

USO of Bay Area’s LeAnn Thornton was recognized for her dependability, ingenuity and unwavering support of troops and their families. Army Sergeant Geraldin “Thibaut” Lenkoue was presented the award for the countless manpower hours he has committed to the USO Warrior Center in Germany as well as for his charismatic personality and can-do attitude which helps to keep spirits high at the center frequented by troops recovering at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

In keeping with the night of recognition, USO Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff John I. Pray Jr. reflected on Spirit of the USO Award recipient country music megastar Toby Keith’s loyal and continuing support of troops and military families. Keith was presented the award in April at the 2014 American Country Music Awards in recognition of his extraordinary support of service men and women, and for exemplifying the ideals and mission of the USO.

Country music sensation and seven-time USO tour veteran Kellie Pickler captivated the crowd with renditions of some of her most popular hits, including “Tough,” “Someone Somewhere,” and “Red High Heels.” Never one to shy away from showing her support, last year the country music star hosted a special Valentine’s Day event for female troops in Afghanistan and Kuwait – shipping some of her favorite pampering products overseas and Skyping in to wish the ladies a very happy Valentine’s Day. Later that same year, Pickler set out on her seventh USO tour and celebrated the Christmas holiday with troops in the Middle East. Additionally, this year Pickler signed on as an official ambassador of the USO’s Every Moment Counts campaign, a national campaign to rally Americans to show their support for troops and their families.

“Because of our servicemen and women…we get to wake up in the morning and be whoever we want to be. That’s something we should not take for granted.”

Actress and comedian Aisha Tyler emceed the evening with grace and style, and kept the audience smiling with her comedic timing. A first-timer to the USO stage, Tyler was quick to recognize the sacrifices made by troops and military families during their service.

“As someone with a deep and abiding respect for our servicemen and women,” said Tyler. “And the sacrifices that they and their families make every day on behalf of our country, it is an incredible joy for me to share this evening with you.”.

Celebrity chef Robert Irvine designed the evening’s menu, which featured some of his classic fall recipes.

As the evening drew to a close, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey took the stage to address the audience and present the USO Service Member of the Year Awards. Each year the USO works with military senior leadership to recognize the bravery, loyalty and heroism of an enlisted service hero from each branch of the military. Dempsey remarked on the bravery and selflessness demonstrated in the acts of valor of each service member being honored at the 2014 gala.

“The pride of the men and women who serve is just absolutely inspiring,” said Dempsey. “And that’s why all of you who serve with the USO do what you do because you want to match their pride with your commitment.”

The 2014 USO Service Member of the Year Honorees:

USO Soldier of the Year: Sergeant Andrew J. Mahoney, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division (Fort Carson, CO)
USO Marine of the Year: Sergeant Matthew E. Belleci, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365, Marine Corps Air Station New River (Jacksonville, NC)
USO Sailor of the Year: Petty Officer 1st Class Troy A. Cromer, Explosive Ordinance Disposal Mobile Unit 12, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story (Virginia Beach, VA)
USO Airman of the Year: Senior Airman John C. Hamilton, 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, 720th Special Tactics Group, 24th Special Operations Wing (Hurlburt Field, FL)
USO Coast Guardsman of the Year: Petty Officer 3rd Class Brett R. Bates, Coast Guard Air Station Houston (Houston, TX)
USO National Guardsman of the Year: Sergeant Andrew J. Mehltretter, 1163rd Area Support Medical Company, Kentucky Army National Guard (Shelbyville, KY)

The USO is the only non-profit organization that supports troops throughout their entire journey of service, from the moment they join, while in recovery and as they transition back to their communities. For more than 70 years the USO has been hard at work helping to keep deployed troops connected to home, bringing laughter and a much-needed break to servicemen and women and their families around the world as well as providing crucial programs and services for our wounded, ill and injured troops and their caregivers, troops in transition and families of the fallen. This year, the USO extends a special thank you to our 2014 Gala sponsors:

Chairman Sponsor: Northrop Grumman Corporation
Vice Chairman Sponsors: | Monster and Proctor & Gamble
Four Star Sponsors: Chevron, Express Scripts Federal Pharmacy Services, Huntington Ingalls Industries, NewDay USA and UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans
Three Star Sponsors: Altria, AT&T, The Coca-Cola Company, DynCorp International, Jeep, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin Corporation and Worth Linen Associates

Additionally, as part of the evening’s program the USO remembered longtime friend, USO celebrity volunteer and military supporter Academy Award-winning actor Robin Williams with a photo montage from his six USO tours.

To obtain USO photos and video of tonight’s event visit

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About the USO

The USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors, troops in transition and families of the fallen. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. Our programs and services are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff.

In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President’s Circle Partners: American Airlines, AT&T, BNSF Railway, Clark Construction Group, LLC, The Coca-Cola Company, Grand Canyon University, JCPenney, Jeep, Johnson & Johnson, Kroger, Northrop Grumman Corporation and TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Worldwide Strategic Partners: BAE Systems, BIC, The Boeing Company, ConAgra Foods, FedEx, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation, Procter & Gamble, TKS Telepost Kabel-Service Kaiserslautern GmbH & Co. KG and Wawa Inc. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381). To join us in this important mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit

Joseph Sywenkyj Receives $30,000 Grant from W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund in Humanistic Photography for Verses from a Nation in Transition

New York, NY (PRWEB) October 15, 2014

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is pleased to announce that Joseph Sywenkyj is the recipient of its 2014 grant in humanistic photography for his project, Verses from a Nation in Transition, which takes a sensitive look at families who have been seriously impacted physically, mentally and economically by the crisis they currently endure in Ukraine. A U.S. Citizen who divides his time between New Hampshire and Ukraine, Sywenkyj has spent more than a decade documenting a country his family called home until after WWII. The $ 30,000 grant was presented to Joseph Sywenkyj during a special ceremony at the SVA Theater in New York City this evening.

Believing that photographs are unique visual poems, Sywenkyj applied different approaches to the time he spent with a family in Odesa, compared with his time covering the revolution. “One represents the formalities of domestic life, while my images from the revolution are more immediate, which is the reason I made them in 35mm,” he explained in a recent interview.

“Receiving the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography is a tremendous honor. The grant will allow me to continue my long-term documentation of Ukraine at this historic time of immense transition,” he said. “The fact that the award went to a project that touches upon life in this nation will hopefully help create more awareness about the situation here and its effects on individuals and families,” Sywenkyj added.

Smith grant recipients were selected from 170 entries received from 42 countries. Past recipients of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund grant include Jane Evelyn Atwood, Donna Ferrato, James Nachtwey, Eli Reed, Eugene Richards, Paolo Pellegrin, Gilles Peress, and Sebastiao Salgado, to name a few. This year’s panel of judges was comprised of Jury Chair Stuart Alexander, Anne McNeill, and Dora Somosi.

Also honored last night was Moises Saman, the recipient of a $ 5,000 Fellowship from the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund for Discordia: The Arab Spring. Through the eyes of Saman, Discordia takes the viewer on a four-year journey through Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria as these states drift from revolutionary throes to violent fallouts. Saman’s personal journey chronicles the indelible transformation of the region in this momentous period in Arab history. “I am humbled and thrilled to receive this year’s Eugene Smith Fellowship, an award that puts me in the company of so many photographers that I have deeply admired throughout my career,” Moises Saman said.

This year’s Howard Chapnick Grant was presented to Muriel Hasbun for laberinto project, a collaborative arts and lens-based media, education and cultural legacy preservation project, consisting of digital photographic archiving of artwork, documenting the histories of artists working in Central America during the Salvadoran civil war and its aftermath.

“Being the recipient of this year’s Howard Chapnick Grant is a great honor,” said Muriel Hasbun. “I wholeheartedly believe in laberinto projects, and to be supported in this way is humbling, validating and exciting,” Hasbun said. “The grant will help relate an important – and as of yet untold – story of how art gives voice to a community.”

Hasbun plans to use the Chapnick Grant to work with a group of students and colleagues at the Corcoran School of the Arts + Design in Washington, DC to populate the digital archive and implement Legacy and Memory: Mapping the Labyrinth, a pilot, lens-based engagement program planned for March 2015 at the Centro Cultural de España in San Salvador.

Award recipients presented their work on Wednesday evening to a capacity crowd at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Theater in New York City. Clarissa Ward, CBS News Foreign Correspondent, gave the keynote presentation. Ward is among the most intrepid and recognized international journalists working today. She has reported from every major news hotspot in the past decade and has earned numerous honors for her work from inside the civil war in Syria, as well as the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine.

In addition to Miss Ward’s keynote, presentations included remarks from ICP Executive Director, Mark Lubell, segments from an upcoming documentary on the life and career of W. Eugene Smith, a presentation of work from past Smith Grant recipient, Eugene Richards, and this year’s Smith Grant finalists including Mary Calvert, Ed Ou, Matt Eich, Encarni Pindado, and Majid Saeedi.

“Joseph Sywenkyj’s Verses from a Nation in Transition takes a sensitive and poignant look at how Ukranian families who are most affected by acts of war and terrorism are not even on the international community’s radar,” explains Stuart Alexander, vice president/international specialist at Christie’s, Smith Fund board member, and lead adjudicator for this year’s grant. “His images remind us that in the end it is the citizens, the communities, and the families that are always the ones who suffer most, and forces us to look at who we are as a world community to allow it to continue. His work stood out among many worthy candidates including Moises Saman who is receiving the $ 5,000 Fellowship for his project about Arab Spring,” Alexander concluded.

Now in its 35th year, the grant is a testament to W. Eugene Smith, an acknowledged pioneer in exploring the human condition with his camera. Established in 1979, the grant is intended to support and encourage photographers producing humanistic photo stories in the Smith tradition.

Financial support for the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund comes from the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Anastasia Photo, Canon USA, The Harbers Family Foundation, and Open Society Foundations. Additional Smith Fund support is provided by Anastasia Foundation, Aperture Foundation, Center for Creative Photography (CCP), International Center of Photography, MediaStorm, Open Society Foundations (OSF), Photo District News (PDN), School of Visual Arts (SVA), and Synergy Communications, Inc.

About The Smith Fund Grant

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is presented annually to photographers whose work is judged by a panel of experts to be in the best tradition of the compassionate dedication exhibited by W. Eugene Smith during his 45-year career in photojournalism. The grant enables recipients to undertake and complete worthy photojournalistic projects.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Portfolios from this year’s award recipients are available upon request. Please contact Lou Desiderio at lou(at)pr-synergy(dot)com

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More History Photography Press Releases

Big Canoe Fine Art Show Open to the Public October 23 to November 2, 2014 in Northern Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) October 14, 2014

Big Canoe Realty and The Big Canoe Building Group are sponsoring a wonderful cultural event open to the public in their award winning northern Georgia gated mountain community from Thursday, October 23 through Sunday, November 2, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. This North Georgia art show will take place in a beautiful custom home in the new Bluffs at Ridgeview neighborhood.

The Fine Art Event features a significant showing of works by 14 southeastern artists in various mediums including painting, sculpture, photography, pottery, blown glass and glass sculpture. Admission is free and there will be many exquisite works for sale including art, furniture, and quilts. Come view the essential works of:

CAL BREED – a glassmaker for over 20 years with a distinctive style and nature as his inspiration. Breed designs and creates functional glass and sculptures.

RAE BREED – a self-taught potter who began her artistic career on Andros Island in the Bahamas in the 1980s. Her stoneware and raku clay works feature unique glazes.

DUTCH – originally a wood sculptor, he worked in various mediums before settling on glass, using the pate’ de verre technique, learning hot glass sand casting, and finally blown glass.

JOHN GECI – a glassblower based near the Penland School of Crafts in Western North Carolina. His vibrant and distinctive line of glassware is J. Geci Glass.

JONAS GERARD – a painter, primarily in acrylics and mixed media. Gerard’s work is prolific and tactile, as he creates abstracts, other genres, and works with paint, silk, sculpture and more.

PAM HAGAN – a painter using watercolor, acrylics and mixed media, her subjects range from delicate floral studies to sweeping Southern landscapes.

JANET JACOBSON – a contemporary landscape painter, Jacobson’s work reflects serenity, her love of nature, and her life in the mountains of North Carolina.

DEHANNA JONES – a glassblower who describes herself as a Glass Minimalist to describe her process. Jones’ designs are anything but minimalist, and true works of art.

CHRIS MOSEY – formally trained as a potter, Mosey creates fabulous glass objects that beg to be touched.

MULTITUDES – a Blue Ridge gallery representing over 75 artists, specializing in hand blown glass, as well as regional artists in jewelry, ceramic pottery, iron work, photography, wood working, stain glass and oil/acrylic/watercolor painting.

NNAMDI OKONKWO – a sculptor, whose fluid, simple lines and subjects often depicting the female form in action, communicates life, motion, and emotion with his work.

LORA RUST – a potter and pottery teacher who loves working with clay, Rust creates heirloom quality porcelain table and serving ware at her Atlanta area studio.

CAROL SKAPINETZ – originally an art teacher in New Jersey, Skapinetz is now a watercolorist who concentrates on floral landscapes using non-traditional techniques that give her watercolors a photographic quality.

JOHN SMITH – a landscape photographer inspired by the Great Smoky Mountains and the four distinctive seasons in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

ERIC STRAUSS – a sculptor who uses found, forged and fabricated steel to create scenes from nature and the elements.


The North Georgia art show, held during peak leaf viewing season in the Big Canoe gated mountain community, takes place in one of The Big Canoe Building Group’s newest model homes. The breathtaking model and fall scenery make a fitting backdrop for the art show, but there are other works of art to see as well. Three other custom Big Canoe model homes in The Bluffs are available for viewing, as well as a furnished model in the Twin Creeks neighborhood.

Big Canoe covers 8,000 acres of glorious north Georgia mountain scape comprising many different neighborhoods with a lifestyle for families of all ages and sizes. The gated mountain community in the foothills of the North Georgia Appalachians is only one hour north of Atlanta. Big Canoe offers the perfect escape for a weekend home or seasonal residence, however approximately 60 percent of homeowners are year-round residents, many of whom commute to Atlanta for work, happy to return to fresh mountain air at the end of the day.

With lakes, streams, and hiking & nature trails throughout, Big Canoe is a nature lover’s dream. Outdoor sports are a huge draw, and the community has a well-developed set of amenities including 27 holes of championship golf with incredible mountain views, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, swimming pools, and a 17,000 square foot fitness center. Dozens of clubs, sports leagues, events, and social activities plus the serenity of the North Georgia Mountains make the established, gated mountain community of Big Canoe a home worth coming home to.

The Bluffs at Ridgeview is Big Canoe’s newest neighborhood and offers heavily wooded home sites ranging from one and one-half to two acres of spectacular mountain views at an elevation of 2,200 feet. Lots are currently priced starting from the low $ 200s and there is no time limit imposed for building your dream home. Over 30 authorized Big Canoe builders with dozens of appealing and livable floor plans are ready to build your north Georgia mountain dream home in a variety of styles including historic Adirondack and Appalachian, Craftsman, and Western Log and Timber.

Twin Creeks is an intimate, 14-home Southern Living cottage neighborhood featuring a Pavilion and hiking trail that connect to Big Canoe’s Meditation Park trail system. This new neighborhood is conveniently located near the community’s main gate and offers a choice of mountain, creek, or golf views – each as lovely as the others. The cottages, with four different floor plans, start in the mid $ 300s.

This is your perfect get-away opportunity to take in an exceptional art event and tour the newest Big Canoe model homes during one of the most beautiful times of the year in the north Georgia mountains.

For directions and more information about this North Georgia art show and the Big Canoe community, call Big Canoe Realty at 770-893-2733 or 1-866-244-2266.

About Real Estate Scorecard:

Real Estate Scorecard writes unbiased real estate reviews providing in-depth information about popular gated communities in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, all in an effort to help people discover where to retire in the Southeast.


Go Underwater with a Camera from the 1960s

Go Underwater with a Camera from the 1960s
What started out as a small experiment with a few old film cameras from the 1960s has now turned into a much larger project and sparked a revival and love for underwater film photography. The Nikonos camera, invented in 1963, was one of the first …
Read more on TIME

The Leica Camera Turns 100 Years Old By Recreating The World's Most
"Even the photographs that weren't taken with a Leica, were taken because of the Leica," the video below proclaims. The year 1914 marks the moment Oskar Barnack fully imagined the very first Leica model, a product that would launch Ernst Leitz Optische …
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Latest National Geographic Photography News

Viral Photo of Great White Shark Stirs Debate Over Cages, Baiting
National Geographic underwater photographer Brian Skerry said via e-mail, "The reality is that with very, very few exceptions, a person/diver/photographer will never see a shark up close without attracting it." Exceptions include certain schools of …
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The stunning natural beauty around the world captured in National Geographic's
National Geographic Photo Contest 2014. The Grand Prize Winner will receive $ 10,000 (£6170) and a trip to the National Geographic headquarters in Washington DC to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar in January 2015.
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Entirenet Announces Launch of New Website

Bellevue, WA (PRWEB) October 07, 2014

It’s here! Entirenet is excited to announce the launch of its completely redesigned website ( This new website more accurately reflects the wealth of knowledge the company possesses, as well as the personality of its people. With ease of use and visual appeal as its design priorities, the website is an information rich resource for Entirenet’s clients, sales team, and industry professionals.

Entirenet CEO Jack Showalter said that Entirenet initially made the decision to conduct a website facelift after recognizing the need for a modern look and fresh content, and partnered with 4th Avenue Media to accomplish it.

Special emphasis is placed on personalization, engagement, creativity, and Entirenet’s commitment to customer service. Also featured are social media integration, customer testimonials, rich photography, and mobile optimization.

Stephanie Long, Marketing Manager at Entirenet, noted, “Since we are in the content creation and delivery business, it was important that our site be optimized for mobile.”


About Entirenet: Entirenet was founded in 1998, and has been solving communication and training challenges for Fortune 500 companies and startups alike ever since. The talented team of consultants includes writers, editors, instructional designers, programmers, translators, and other specialists with decades of combined experience in the technology and business markets. This experience enables Entirenet to have the hands-on knowledge to apply real-world know-how to businesses.

To learn more about Entirenet, please visit Please contact Stephanie Long at (425) 558-1000 x718 for media requests and inquiries.

Israel Lund's Analog JPEGs

Israel Lund's Analog JPEGs
Each of these custom fabricated, free-standing powder-coated aluminum armatures contains an image made via a photo emulsion on an acrylic mesh screen, and relate directly to the silk-screening tools and process by which his paintings are produced.
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Chemist who went on to be insect expert
Although he was involved in microscopy as early as 1875, his introduction to the scientific public dates from a meeting of the Queensland Amateur Photographic Society in 1898, when the Courier reported that he 'gave a lecture on the life history and …
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Meet William Giles, one of 63 artists in this weekend's Monterey County
He's got a series of manipulated Polaroids, which look more fascinating than it might sound. He manipulates the emulsion paper with dental tools in the 30 minutes he has before it sets. He was the chair of the photography department at the University …
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Muscatine: Through the looking glass
Throughout this time, Grossheim continued to work with new and improving photographic technology, moving from tintypes to glass plates with emulsion chemicals. During the 1880s, Grossheim even developed a portable camera, which got the attention of …
Read more on Muscatine Journal, Disability Inclusive Stock Images is Co-organizer for the 5th Annual International Conference on Accessible Tourism, ICAT2014, Photo Contest

(PRWEB) September 30, 2014

The Asia-Pacific Photography competition on Accessible Tourism is primarily a competition where the quality of the photograph and the story the image portrayed is paramount.

However, the theme of the competition is very specific in that it requires the entries to portray travelers with disabilities in a disabled friendly environment, or of people championing for the needs of disabled travelers be met so that they are able to enjoy tourism services.

CRPD article 30 States: Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to take part on an equal basis with others and shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy access to places for culture performances or services such as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and tourism services and, as far as possible, enjoy access to monuments and sites of national cultural importance.

When encountering various barriers, persons with disabilities, including those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, may be hindered from giving their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

When judging photographs, equal weight will be given to photographs of people without visible disabilities as to those with visible disabilities even though photos of visible disabilities may be more emotive. Account must also be taken of the caption and the relevance to Accessible Tourism.

Competition entrants will also have the option of submitting their images to PhotoAbility for consideration to added to the commercial library.

Submit entries to:

Organized by Beautiful Gate Foundation For The Disabled

Creative Partner: AT HOME CREATIVE

Co-organized with

Accessible tourism has never been more relevant: One Billion people or 20% of the world’s population are currently living with a disability, and with a greater aging demographic, this number will only increase. The industry is now thinking of tourism no longer solely as a luxury, but as a need that is shared by everyone and wanting to reflect this in their marketing. Using travel and lifestyle stock imagery that reflect real people with disabilities is paramount to sending a welcoming message of inclusion.

About PhotoAbility

PhotoAbility was established in March 2012 by Bill Forrester and Deborah Davis with the goal of providing high quality, unique, non-medically oriented imagery of persons with disabilities for purchase by the advertising, marketing and media sectors. The Commercial Stock Image Library specializes in positive and “Inclusive” images of people with a disability in leisure, lifestyle and travel settings.

The 2000+ inclusive images depicted in the PhotoAbility gallery are designed to impact attitudinal bias, change perception and provide motivation to eliminate and reduce social, structural and professional barriers. A wave of change reflected in popular media, and advertising can make an impact on laws and attitudes around the globe and on how many with differing abilities view themselves.

For more information and to view’s positive, inclusive Stock Images, please visit

Artist Rick Shaefer “Renders Nature” in Bellarmine Museum of Art Exhibition at Fairfield University

Fairfield, Connecticut (PRWEB) September 30, 2014

Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Museum of Art presents its newest exhibition, “Rick Shaefer: Rendering Nature,” on view now through December 19, 2014. Connecticut-based artist Rick Shaefer is best known for his remarkable works in charcoal on vellum. Inspired directly by the textural richness of the natural world as well as the communicative power of “the line,” Shaefer gravitates towards subjects that are as visually compelling as they are intellectually engaging. Massive oak trees felled by the forces of natures and magisterial creatures, including the American Bison and Indian Rhinoceros, reflect his profound interest in the capacity of bold mark-marking to evoke the visual patterns of our lived environment. They equally speak to his stated interest in the powerful intersection of the human and the natural worlds and the resulting dialogues – historical, mythological, and anthropomorphic – to which these collisions give rise. Shaefer’s charcoal drawings will be complemented by more than a dozen of his cloud paintings, many of which have never been exhibited publicly before and several of which were painted specifically for the Bellarmine’s main gallery.

Raised primarily in Europe, Shaefer studied at Duke University, where he first engaged with painting. He continued his education at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., where he focused on photography. Following a successful career in commercial photography and editorial work, Shaefer – who found he was increasingly drawn to drawing and painting – decided to devote himself to these disciplines in 1994. His experience as a photographer, however, left an indelible mark on Shaefer, whose artistic sensibilities reflect a fascination with texture and line that is closely aligned with black and white photography and its privileging of tonal contrasts.

Among Shaefer’s other key sources of artistic inspiration are the etchings, engravings, and woodcuts of Northern European Old Masters, including Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-69) and Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). He has also been influenced by the drawings of the American illustrator and cartoonist R. Crumb (b. 1943), who – like the Old Masters – relies on a confident and bold line in his work. This same confidence resonates in the work of Shaefer, who has stated, with regard to his own oeuvre: “I tend to always come back to the line work. I find what I respond to and admire in other artists’ work, past or present, is usually the integrity of the line – whether it’s a single stroke or a mass of scribble in the shadows. If the marks are put down with validity and assurance they will resonate and the piece will vibrate. False or uneasy notes stand out and unsettle and even demoralize. A confident fluidity of movement and gesture is what is consciously and unconsciously felt and appreciated by the viewer.”

Such gestural boldness is clear in Shaefer’s works in charcoal on vellum. In these pieces, the artist very consciously refrains from stumping and smudging, relying instead on the lines themselves to create field of depth, contour, and shadow. This same audacity is apparent in his cloud studies, though the resolution of these works is entirely different. Painted in oil on linen in muted, often monochromatic tones, these pieces feature loose but determined brushstrokes. Cumulus clouds erupt across Shaefer’s canvases, dazzling the viewer with their bravura and foregrounding the sublime power of nature. The English landscape painter John Constable comes immediately to mind when one regards these pieces, including Shaefer’s mosaic of twelve 11”-by-14” studies on canvas board. Constable’s colleague and rival J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) is equally conjured by these studies, which are marked by a textural richness and a visceral impact.

Shaefer has exhibited widely throughout the greater New York City metro region and New England as well as in Louisiana and in Western Europe. His works are held in a number of private and corporate collections, including Microsoft, American Express, Prudential, Goleb Enterprises, Michael Lynne, Arthur G. Rosen, and United Yarn.

This exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated brochure with an essay contributed by Dr. Jill Deupi, Director and Chief Curator of University Museums at Fairfield University. Several complementary events have also been planned to enhance this show, including a gallery talk by the artist October 29 at 5 p.m. In addition, a special Family Day, sponsored by Morris Media Group and inspired by Shaefer’s works, will take place on Saturday, October 4, 2014, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Bellarmine Museum. This event, which is free and open to the public, will focus on “Art & Animals.” Museum galleries will be open to the general public between noon and 5 p.m. on this same Saturday.

The Bellarmine Museum of Art is open Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on select Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is always free. For more information, call the Bellarmine Museum of Art at (203) 254-4046, or visit The Bellarmine Museum of Art is located in Bellarmine Hall on the campus of Fairfield University, 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Fairfield University is a Jesuit University, rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 36 states, 47 foreign countries, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are enrolled in the University’s five schools. In the spirit of rigorous and sympathetic inquiry into all dimensions of human experience, Fairfield welcomes students from diverse backgrounds to share ideas and engage in open conversations. The University is located in the heart of a region where the future takes shape, on a stunning campus on the Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.

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