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Road Tripping

From Birmingham to Bellingham

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WHAT: Use your smartphone or mobile device to reserve a copy of Continental Obscura
HOW: By downloading the free Library Now app—get it from any app store or by visiting http://www.wa.boopsie.com. To learn more about Ryan’s work, visit http://www.ryanrussell.net

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Eight days + 3,111 miles + 10,000 photos = a love story in photographs.

After spending all of his 32 years in Birmingham, Alabama, photographer Ryan Russell embarked on a journey of opposites—from the deep South to a new home in the Pacific Northwest, photo-documenting the journey as he traveled. Just as a camera takes an image and inverts it, Ryan likens his trip over the Continental Divide to traveling “through the diaphragm of a camera.”

Photographing nature is a new venture for Russell, a rock ‘n’ roll photographer whose resume includes photographing bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Paramore, Green Day, and Blink-182. It is interesting to see our familiar landscape tinged with a patina of gothic Southern sensibility and punk rock grittiness. It is just a lingering flavor, like a spice your tongue can’t quite name.

Ryan starts the journey sharing his former home through portraits of Birmingham friends. By day two he was repacking the car and jettisoning some of the load to FedEx. Day two also found him passing through Metropolis, Illinois, the official home of Superman, that sports a 15-foot-high bronze statue of the Man of Steel in Superman Square.

Continental Obscura: From Birmingham to Bellingham contains very little text, instead letting the photos speak for themselves with a wide-eyed curiosity for the myriad types of people and places that make up America. Stops along the way include a mix of iconic images (Arches National Park), whimsical kitsch (Oz Museum in Kansas), majestic nature (sunset in Rocky Mountain National Park), and haunting landscapes (abandoned homes near Sego, Utah), as well the faces of “regular” people he meets.

The final third of Continental Obscura focuses on (no pun intended) Ryan’s getting-to-know-you first weeks in our corner of the United States, his lens drawn to the immensity of Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan, our wild shorelines, and the mesmerizing aquamarine of Diablo Lake. Black-and-white images mix with color photos, emphasizing the way clouds and mist often shroud us here.

It will be a year in July since Ryan arrived in Bellingham. He is excited about the many opportunities Whatcom County has provided for satisfying his dream of branching out into nature photography. Squalicum Beach, Larrabee, and Birch Bay are favorite water haunts, and Ryan says he’s always up for a Baker adventure and photo shoot.

Bellingham’s network of trails and their relationship to downtown and shopping is something Ryan really enjoys that is very different than Birmingham. And the weather here isn’t as bad as everyone says it is (but that’s our little secret, right?).

Lisa Gresham is the Collection Support Manager for the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS). She selects adult fiction and downloadable materials for WCLS’s 10 branches and bookmobile. Friend us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/wclslibraries

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Events
Today
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Parkinson's Dance Class

11:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Meet a Truck

1:00pm|Bellingham City Hall

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

SeaFeast Kickoff

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Spring Fling with Skagit Women in Business

5:30pm|Grand Willow Inn

Hidden Forest Foray

6:00pm|Sehome Arboretum

Off-Leash Books

6:00pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Spring Soups for the Body and Soul

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Life Between the Pages Dinner Book Club

6:30pm|Evolve Chocolate + Cafe

Birds of the West

7:00pm

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Birds of the West

7:00pm|Village Books

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

House Concert with Wandering Seas

7:30pm

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

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Tomorrow
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Cornwall Park

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Seaside BBQ

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Salmon Dinner Sail

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Matilda the Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

The Hobbit

7:00pm|Judson Auditorium

Bellingham Community Chamber Orchestra

7:00pm| Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Improvised Musicals, LOL

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

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Saturday
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Matilda the Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

The Hobbit

7:00pm|Judson Auditorium

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7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

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9:00am|Riverwalk Park

Concrete Saturday Market

9:00am|Concrete Community Center

Anacortes Farmers Market

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Lummi Island Artists' Studio Tour

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Birch Bay Book Sale

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Birch Bay Kite Festival

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11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Whatcom Memorial Day Parade

12:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Poetry Night with Sara Sutton

7:00pm|Walton Theatre

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