Ojai puts best 'Faces' forward
By Jesse Phelps
They say that the eyes are a
window to the soul. Look around the valley this week and you'll
find that the souls of Ojai are on display like never before.
That's because "Faces of Ojai," a self-descriptive
photography exhibit adorns the walls of businesses throughout
town and it's a sometimes fascinating journey into the lives
of our neighbors and ourselves.
Cowboys and the homeless. Wedding participants and children playing.
The exhibit doesn't discriminate, highlighting all the wonderful
facets of the people of our town. Those windows define the emotion
of the human condition.
Start with a walk along the main drag. At Bank of America, locals
stare out from the walls as their neighbors pack the teller lines.
At The Oaks of Ojai, where works from professionals, including
Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Welles, decorate the main hallway,
the viewer will find passion, longing and playful joy.
Move down the street to Local Hero books, Ojai Pizza and the
Ojai Coffee Roasting Co. Some of the best stuff in the entire
exhibit comes from amateur photographers like Shayna Freeman
and her group of 11 young contributors from the Ojai Valley youth
Foundation. Ojai Pizza's exhibit is extensive, featuring these
works and others from local amateurs.
At the Ojai Coffee Roasting Co., the exhibit is more focused.
It details a year in the life of the business and its customers,
candid shots of artists, intellectuals and coffee drinkers of
Next, go around the corner to Il Giardino and the Art Center.
Now you're back into the professional realm. While some of the
photos smack of advertising, many embody wonderful, inspired
moments. And, of course, when you're looking at professional
work, you'll find the composition, color and overall mastery
brought out by the trained eye.
But this is an exhibit, says organizer Shed Behar, about the
amateurs. Peoples' family photos comprise some of the most inspiring
work along the way, as do candid shots of folks with their dogs.
The photos also adorn the walls of Ojai Creates, Los Padres Bank,
Ojai Optical and Stir Crazy, which has a particularly nice professional
As a celebration of the people of our town, the show accomplishes
its mission. It's an opportunity to see some of our good friends
highlighted in moments of clarity. It's an opportunity to see
the photographic skills of both professionals and those with
a less practiced eye. It's Ojai as can only be seen by Ojai.
The Ojai Valley News
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