Busy schedules often inhibit our ability to see the intrinsic beauty of the landscape around us. From the subtlety of birds in flight to the loud neon signs that line our roads, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Photographer Walt Lawrence has spent the last two years examining, and re-examining, the Great Falls landscape with his camera — which has resulted in an ongoing portfolio that showcases the aesthetics of the Great Falls community.
"From my standpoint, I am in awe of the beauty," said Lawrence. "I'm trying to capture it with my camera. I think other people appreciate the same things but haven't tried to capture it."
With his first solo exhibit currently on display at the Great Falls Library through the month of April, Lawrence presents roughly 30 images that represent the landscape, wildlife and landmarks of the Great Falls area and the Outer Banks.
WHAT STARTED AS A HOBBY 40 years ago while in the Navy, Lawrence began shooting images around the world, including Morocco, where he was stationed for a time. Later in life, Lawrence had the good fortune to live in Paris and Germany and traveled throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. While this provided opportunity for lots of photography, Lawrence says he wasn't serious about the art until the last two years.
With his collection of Great Falls ongoing, but ready for display, Lawrence is still mesmerized by the area even after two years of study.
"I compare it to fishing," said Lawrence on photography. "Sometimes the fish are biting and sometimes not. Things are always different, it always changes."
But even with change, admirers of Lawrence's work often find home in the prints he sells.
"A number of people buy my art to give to friends and family who used to live here," said Lawrence. "Pictures of Thelma's sign brings back memories."
WITH TWO YEARS of study under his belt, Lawrence still sees his collection of Great Falls and Outer Banks as an ongoing process. Although you can drive a car through Great Falls in a matter a minutes, the landscape that lies between roads provides a seemingly infinite amount of beauty.
"People invite me to come to their property," said Lawrence.. "I've learned a lot about the geography of the area."