Hand-colored Photography by Greg Tiburzi
February 3 - March 24, 2006
This exhibit of hand-colored photography by Duluth, Minnesota artist Greg Tiburzi tracks the course of Bear Creek in Northeast Iowa, and is presented in conjunction with the Nobel Peace Prize Forum at Luther College March 10-11, 2006.
"'...They were beautiful little brooks, so clear, so overarched with tall grasses and willows, so plaited with the colors of the pebbles in the sun, so dark and mysterious in the shade...All those beautiful brooks are now forever gone. They were such lovely streams to us children...but they were like delicate flowers, too tender for the touch of humanity.' - Herbert Quick, 1925, recalling the Iowa prairie of the 1860s. Some, like Bear Creek in Northeast Iowa, are fortunately still around. In a state with over 92 percent of its land held in private hands, these rare parcels have become that much more precious. They carry the weight and demands of many living things. A refuge for redstarts and herons, muskrat and trout, caddis flys and humans alike. It is still breathtaking to me, descending from the treeless cornfields down into this rich, otherworldly riparian zone. Over thousands of years, Bear Creek has become its own protector, carving this mostly nonfarmable, steep and rocky preserve. But caution often speaks softly. Like the fading spots on a dying brown trout it is visible in the erosion of the banks and worm container lids floating in pools, invisible in the deceptively pure, crystal-clear water carrying pesticides downstream. She is a delicate flower for all to enjoy, nurture, and protect. From April through November of 2002, I traded my fly rod for a 35mm camera and photographed the north and south branches. From the confluence I walked the north branch through July, stopping just shy of the headwaters near the Minnesota border; the remainder of the season I photographed the south branch where I eventually ran into ice in the shadows of a bluff, then intermittent water, then no water at all. It was an eye-opening journey in which I was forced to look beyond the next riffle, differently at the pools I had drifted prince nymphs through in the past. And I was blessed with a catch. The last few years have been spent revisiting the streams at my drawing table, hand-coloring limestone and watercress, cattle trails and caves. I strive to evoke the fragile nature of this unique ecosystem. I am happy finally to remove the hook, to release my catch and let it grow."
- Greg Tiburzi, 2005