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Photo exhibit captures Washington County time capsule
Photos and Story by Janis Nichols
Charles Walters Blacksmith Shop, just off the Sunset Highway in North Plains, opened in 1890. The blacksmith used his shop to make wagon wheels and farm machine parts, and shoed horses. In 1962, the 94-year-old Walters closed the shop which would remain untouched until 2014 when a local photographer stumbled upon this pristine time capsule.
“Portal to the Past,” featuring the black and white photographs of Loren Nelson, will be exhibited in the Helzer Art Gallery in Building 3 at the Rock Creek Campus from Oct. 20 through Nov. 21. The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and on Saturdays by appointment. The artist will give a free public lecture 12:30 to 1 p.m., Friday, Oct. 24. Plus, there will be a free community reception 6-8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 25. Both events are hosted in the gallery.
“Rather than use digital equipment,” Nelson said, “I used a camera appropriate to the time the shop was in operation. A 4×5 view camera and black and white film was used to produce gelatin silver prints. The result is timeless images that not only document Mr. Walter’s smithy, but also communicates a strong sense of a time when things were built to last decades instead of months.”
Nelson’s work has been seen in dozens of solo and group exhibitions throughout the Pacific Northwest and in collections owned by IBM Corporation, Intel, Oregon State University, Portland Art Museum and the cities of Beaverton and Hillsboro, and the Rock Creek Campus.
His PCC exhibit is supported by a grant from the Oregon Regional Arts & Culture Council.