Sue Biggs takes a self portrait. (Photo provided by the Kenai Art Center)

A space for photos, big and small

Kenai Art Center features work by amateurs and professionals in show curated by local photographer

Photographs ranging in size and subject matter are on display at the Kenai Art Center for this month’s “Small to Biggs” showcase.

The exhibition, named after local artist Sue Biggs, aims to provide a space for both professional and novice photographers to share their work in a creative space.

Alex Rydlinski, the executive director of the Kenai Art Center, said Wednesday that the show is different than a traditional photography exhibition.

“There’s actually two parts of the show,” he said. “The first one is a show curated by Sue Biggs, which is a celebration of some of her mentors — some people that inspired her — photographers around Alaska that she looked up to.”

The second part of the show is the “Small Shots” series, which highlights other local talent.

“The small section of the show is the revival of small shots, which is a show that used to go around here starting in 2004,” Rydlinski said. “And the idea was an amateur photographer can display on equal footing as a pro photographer.”

The “Small Shots” submissions were open call, as long as the photo was smaller than 7 inches by 10 inches. Biggs got her start in the early 2000s at a photography show featuring small pictures, and decided to incorporate it into her own show this month.

“The first time she ever showed to the world was at a small shots (exhibition),” Rydlinski said. “And those photos are in the room, so it’s a full circle thing for her.”

In an interview with the Clarion, Biggs said she started dabbling with photography when she was a child, but approached it more seriously when she had children of her own.

“My parents gave me this little box film camera when I was in fourth grade, and I have a couple pictures of my birthday party still,” Biggs said. “And when I came into having my own children, I needed a camera, of course.”

But she didn’t share her work until a mentor encouraged her to display her photography. She described a time when she bought a camera specifically to photograph some baby fox sparrows in Anchor Point.

“One of the things that called to me when I had no camera about 14 years ago was there was some baby fox sparrows that I found,” Biggs said. “And so I ran to Fred Meyer and bought a point-and-shoot Canon.”

Since then, she’s invested in different camera equipment, met with professional photographers and even attended photography classes in other parts of the country. She mostly specializes in portraits, but takes a fair amount of landscape photos as well. Biggs said she liked capturing people navigating everyday life.

“There’s a mixture,” Biggs said about her work. “As a school teacher for over 40 years, I just have this wonderful delight of kids and the spirit of what comes out of the twinkle in their eye, I love catching that.”

This month’s show, she said, is unique in that there’s no theme or limit to artists.

“I’m just really excited about the eclectic collection of what people had to bring and offer,” Biggs said. “To me, it just is a wrap of this community.”

The opening reception for the “Small to Biggs” showcase will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Kenai Art Center in Old Town. Light refreshments will be served.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

A photograph by Daniel Hyman is on display as part of the at the “Small to Biggs” exhibit at the Kenai Art Center.
A photograph by Daniel Hyman is on display as part of the at the “Small to Biggs” exhibit at the Kenai Art Center on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

A photograph by Daniel Hyman is on display as part of the at the “Small to Biggs” exhibit at the Kenai Art Center. A photograph by Daniel Hyman is on display as part of the at the “Small to Biggs” exhibit at the Kenai Art Center on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Alex Rydlinski, executive director of the Kenai Art Center, sets up the “Small to Biggs” photography show at the Kenai Art Center on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Alex Rydlinski, executive director of the Kenai Art Center, sets up the “Small to Biggs” photography show at the Kenai Art Center on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

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