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    The Dickson Gallery of Fine Art, Jackson, Tennessee

Photographer's Passion Shines Through in Work
story by Karen J. Boothby
photography by Lindsay McDonald

July 11, 2007:  The Jackson Sun

Photographer's Passion Shines Through in Work

By KAREN J. BOOTHBY

photo of Carl Oullette by Lindsay McDonald, Jackson Sun

LINDSAY McDONALD/The Jackson Sun
Photographer Carl Ouellette, of Humboldt, is pictured with several of his works. Several of his photographs are for sale at the Dickson Gallery of Fine Art in downtown Jackson.

Beauty is in the eye of the photographer.

A street sign and a condemned building become art when Carl Ouellette, of Humboldt, raises his camera. He sees details in the petals, folds and shadows of flowers and power in a metal sculpture of Jesus on the cross.

"I captured that flower. It's wilted and gone now," he said. The sculpture discovered on a highway toward Bells has been torn down and replaced with a parking lot. Ouellette calls it "Peace at the Mercy of the World." "Look at the expression. I use a lot of negative space and focus on the cross."

As a Marine serving eight years all over the world and in regions of conflict action including Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia, the California native honed his skills behind the lens.

"He has a very different approach to content," said Rachel Dickson, who has five of Ouellette's works for sale at her gallery in downtown Jackson. "He told me it took 120 to 130 shots to get that piece (of an abandoned building) right. That says a lot to me. You have to be detail-oriented. And, he's clearly very passionate."

"Photography, like painting, is truly a fine arts form. The products are as different as the photographer. He has a different eye," Dickson said. His 16-by-20-inch, framed photographs at the gallery are listed at $179 to $199.

"There's not another one like them," Ouellette said of his photos. "They aren't prints. They're original, genuine photographs."

Art is his specialty. "I'll make the photograph to their specifications, whether it's a cell phone or a rose that you can get lost in for hours," he said.

"Portraits are not preferred," though his subjects have included street people and First Amendment rights protesters. "You could see the determination on their faces, and that they would stand out in the heat."

One inspiration for his craft is the "Rock City Barns" photo book by "an uncle-in-law," whom he has watched work.

His adopted family lives in Medina. "I was 15 when I moved to Three Way," Ouellette said.

When Ouelette was 8 years old, his father went to prison after a violent incident while working security for the San Francisco 49ers. "We were on the run for about six months," he said of his dad, stepmother and half-brothers. When Ouelette was 11, his mother died of double pneumonia in Texas. She was 32.

West Tennessee has served as home base and is where he met Mary. While visiting from his Marine unit based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Ouellete waited for a cousin at a North Jackson Baptist Church service. The relative never showed, but he eventually gained a wife in 1996. They have a 4-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter.

 

 

 

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