//Ad libs: Adventuring for your art

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Adventuring for your art

When I did a story last month on pipe organs, I had major kudos for Weekly photographer Marjan Sadoughi. To get "backstage" shots of the thousands of pipes packed into the way-up-high reaches of one church, she had to drag her camera equipment up and down ladders and squeeze through mini doorways.

Somehow she managed to tightrope-step along the catwalks -- her elbows in so she wouldn't knock the pipes out of tune -- and snag great photos. I felt like a wimp lifting only a notebook. Pens you can carry behind your ears.

But photographers seem tougher than the rest of us. A perfect example is San Jose photog Joe Decker, who's in the main gallery at the Pacific Art League this weekend for a solo show. I like the fact that his press release mentions not only his photos, but also the fact that he had to climb up crumbly cliffs and ride through frigid water in a dinghy to get them.

It was all part of a three-week photo trip to the arctic -- mostly Greenland and Svalbard -- to create an exhibit called "Above the Arctic Circle."

"I'd always been drawn to spare and difficult landscapes, but also I felt a need to go there soon, as the landscape of the arctic is changing, and I wanted to record what I could," Decker told me last month. Then he was off to Iceland.

Pictured: "Snowy Pinnacles at Dusk," a 2006 photo by Joe Decker showing the moonrise over black pinnacles in East Greenland.