Seeing Beauty Through the Lens
Boyd County Local tohave PhotographyDisplayed at Capitol
The Ashland Beacon
Through reading an article posted by the Ashland Beacon about photographers contributing to Team Kentucky Gallery, Sheree Griffith, encouraged her father, Larry Ball, to submit one of his landscape photographs. Gov. Andy Beshear and First Lady Britainy Beshear invited Kentuckians to send photographs that highlighted Kentucky’s people, architecture and natural beauty, as well as showcase their choice of lighting, composition and other artistic qualities. Ball submitted a photograph he took on a snowy day in Lawrence County, Kentucky of a Methodistchurch among snow covered trees. Ball found out mid-December that his work was selected and will be on display for six months in the Capitol and on the Team Kentucky Digital Art Gallery from Jan.1 until June 30, 2023.
Ball took the photograph three years ago when he was driving around admiring the snowy day in Zelda, Kentucky and visiting the old Methodist church he attended as a child. Ball recalled the old dirt road that he and his sister would walk to get to the church. His grandparents went to the church in the 1950’s. For Ball, photography is the best way to highlight a memory. Ball declared, “I can’t draw. I like the way the camera captures what I see. I saw the way the trees looked and the gray tones in the sky and snow. I saw my picture. ‘This is perfect,’ I thought as I snapped the picture.”
Griffith was elated with the news when she found out her father’s photograph was chosen, “I’m very proud of him. I actually have a copy of it hanging in my home. It's personal because that's where he and his older sister went to church as children. Plus, I love all things winter. It's probably my favorite of all of his pictures.” Ball was excited, but modest about his photograph being selected, “I’m just an old man who likes to take pictures and see the beauty of the world.”
Capturing the beauty of the world in photographs is a talent that not everyone possesses. One must be passionate about the craft and truly see the subject matter. As American photographer Aaron Siskind once said, “Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”
The beauty Ball captured in the photograph depicted a subject that was close to Ball’s heart, yet will be remembered forever and cherished by all those who visit the Capitol and Digital Gallery in 2023.
Ball is a self-taught photographer who started taking pictures with a Kodak as his first camera. He became more serious about photography in 1970 when he was in active duty in the Navy and started using a 35 mm camera. During that time, Ball mainly developed slides of all the countries he visited. Griffith discussed her father’s hobby with photography saying, “Dad has always been interested in photography. I remember growing up that he turned part of our garage into a darkroom to develop black and white pictures. He no longer does that. He loves taking pictures of nature mostly, especially wildflowers. He has thousands and thousands of pictures.”
Now, Ball has migrated away from film and into the world of digital photography. Ball found the change to digital photography mostly positive due to not having to wait to see the pictures taken or having to print them all. As far as all the editing software, Ball considered himself a minimalist. “My editing is sharpen and crop a little, very little. I get the view that I like, and snap the picture.” Ball admired the work of Randall Sanger, who is a landscape photographer with special emphasis on showcasing the natural beauty of West Virginia. Ball attended Sanger’s photography workshop and was inspired by his methods of getting low and looking behind you, not just in front of you for a shot. Ball stated, “You must see the subject and see the picture before you snap.” All this comes into play as he takes a picture.
Ball captures the details of the subject in the photographs he takes. His portfolio is filled with captivating photographs of nature, such as the blooming wildflowers, the hummingbird hovering to drink, and the morning dew on the mushroom. One of his favorite photographs he took occurred on a trip to Alaska where he captured a breathtaking view of Long Lake. Ball reminisced about the trip with his granddaughter, “Heather and I were on the way to hike on a glacier. We came around a curve in the road, and there it was! Such a beautiful scene.” Ball described the experience with such admiration and the photograph captured his love for the subject once again. Ball’s passion for photography continues to grow as he looks ahead planning trips to capture more of nature’s beauty, as well as staying an active member of the Tri-State Camera Club of Ashland.