Last year’s International Photography Competition at the Fraser Gallery in Bethesda set a high bar; this reviewer ranked it the third best photography show in Washington in 2010. This year’s exhibit doesn’t reach those heights, but for a collection of images heavily produced by amateurs, it’s still impressive. Donald Seymour and Richard Weiblinger offer surrealist, outrageously colorful takes on traditional flower photography, while Jill James offers a stirring blend of gold leaves and blue sky in “Lounging Amidst the Aspens.” Adrian Davis and James Oberthaler offer evocative black-and-white images, the former an understated house and tree on a hill, the latter a 3 x 4 matrix of figures rushing to catch a train. George Borden photographs the transit of the moon as an odd but pleasing sine wave; Philip Kohn reverses tonalities for a seashore image, leaving the sun a blackish-blue, comet-like blob; and Bruce McKaig superimposes bric-a-brac into an empty room, concisely suggesting the ghosts of history. But the most striking image is Van Chu’s “Mushrooms and Trees No. 2,” in which the artist dropped colored liquid into water, photographed its vaporous tendrils, then flipped the image upside down, creating a mesmerizing, wide-angle, almost arboreal landscape.
Through March 5 at the Fraser Gallery, 7700 Wisconsin Avenue., Suite E, Bethesda, Md. (301) 718-9651, Open Tuesday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.