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TO MARCH 29
Bruce Barnbaum of Granite Falls, Wash., is a virtuoso of black-and-white photography. He’s also a chameleon: His images Elegant Dune, Midnight Dune, and Boulder and Metamorphosis Wave (pictured) are dead ringers for the midcareer work of Edward Weston; Mother and Daughter and Basin Mountain Approaching Storm scream Ansel Adams; Salmonberry Leaves and Corn Lily could have been made by Imogen Cunningham. And many of Barnbaum’s wilderness shots could pass for the work of Eliot Porter. But Barnbaum is not merely derivativeat least not entirely. Pisa, for instance, takes one of the world’s most photographed views and turns it into something unexpected: The image takes in a horizontal slice of the Leaning Tower and an adjoining building but skews the view through the use (presumably) of a telephoto lens and a distant vantage point, making the structures appear to be in the same plane of focus, heightening the contrast between the two buildings’ angles. Striations and Pool Reflectionsan image of geological stripe patterns reflected by watersomehow was made from one negative, even though it looks as though it required several. (The patterns also bear an uncanny resemblance to those in Weston’s famous 1930 close-up of a halved artichoke.) Live Oak Forest, Sapelo Island, Georgia offers a dewy, enveloping forest environment appealingly rendered in shades of gray. And Circular Chimney, Antelope Canyon features a magnificent spiraling cave interior creatively lit from behind. Skeptics may cringe at Barnbaum’s most recent projecta New Agey-sounding book-CD combo that links a progression of his images to a selection of classical-music piecesbut with such images as Circular Chimney, Barnbaum demonstrates that he has a knack for making emotionally powerful imagery. His works is on view from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and by appointment, to Saturday, March 29, at Kathleen Ewing Gallery, 1609 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 328-0955. (Louis Jacobson)