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The Intimate Image: Rudi Dietrich at the Dot Dotson Gallery

Rudi Dietrich
Rudi Dietrich captures his wife and daughter dancing

This is Sandy Brown Jensen, and you’re listening to Viz City, KLCC’s arts review program. It seems to me that a life well-lived is one in which we find light in unexpected places and look long enough into the shadows that we find mystery, not fear.

Here we are, deep in the holidays at the end of 2022. If your hustle and bustle takes you out Willamette in Eugene, won’t you stop at Dot Dotson’s little pocket gallery to see the photographs there of 95 year old Rudi Dietrich? Here is a man who finds life in places unexpected because they are close at hand in the kitchen, house, and garden.

Rudi Dietrich
The Music Room

Our local arts group called Photography at Oregon is sponsoring Rudi’s show. He came in from Bozeman, Montana to do a series of presentations, one of which I was fortunate to catch last weekend.

His show is called “Life Goes On,” but after seeing it and watching his slideshow and talk, to myself I’m calling it “The Intimate Image.” After a lifetime lived in photography, at age 95, what is important to Rudi to see and to show are the details of his everyday life. He has close-ups of his own pale hands, sometimes expressively clenched, as he says, to express his frustration, anger or grief. He dwells on the sinuous details of his favorite flower, the amaryllis. Light through a window throws shadows of kitchen utensils against a wall; a wandering bison emerges from the trees by his house.

Rudi Dietrich
A wandering bison comes close to Rudi's home

Rudi spoke simply but eloquently about how important everyday objects are to him. His compositions are casual and spot on—he says he no longer thinks about such things; he’s been doing photography for so long that getting it right the first time is second nature to him.

I have a lot of respect for our elder artists and their deep knowledge of what is still worth seeing. I find it inspiring to be reminded that photography isn’t all big landscapes and magical macros; it is also this stopping to really see and experience the quotidian moment. Rudi’s show is up until January 6. I hope you make time to see it.

This is Sandy Brown Jensen for KLCC.

Sandy Brown Jensen has an MFA in Poetry and is a retired writing instructor from Lane Community College. She is an artist and a photographer with a lifetime interest in looking at and talking about art. Sandy hosts KLCC's long-running arts review program Viz City.