DENHAM SPRINGS -- When it comes to photography, Frederick Schiele would rather be outside.
In nature, he lets his mind drift away as he scans his surroundings, camera in hand, searching for that perfect moment to capture forever.
And he’s captured many.
Since picking up a camera in his teens, the 41-year-old from Baker has taken “too many photos to count,” particularly in the outdoors when he gets to travel. He’s taken photos of canyons and deserts in Nevada, rivers in Arkansas, wildlife in his home state, and birds in Arizona.
Several of his photographs from these trips are currently on display at the Arts Council of Livingston Parish, where 11 members of the Louisiana Photographic Society have put more than 35 pieces on exhibit until the end of July.
For Schiele, who joined the society last January, the exhibit gives him a chance to share with others something that’s deeply personal to him.
“Nature photos are my favorite by far,” Schiele said. “It’s a different feeling. You can just get zoned and forget about everything else.”
Schiele isn’t the only nature lover in this group. Several photographers went with wildlife and nature for their selections, which featured around 30 photos of flowers, landscapes, birds and other wildlife.
LSP member Jackie Simm brought two of the most eye-grabbing photos on display — both featuring alligators. One shows a gator sprawled out on a log drifting down a river, while the other shows a group of them jostling for position in a swamp. (Simm titled this canvassed piece “The Gator Gang.”)
Like Schiele, Simm also has striking bird and floral photography on display, as well as several other LSM members.
Breaking a bit from the norm was LSP member Jay Patel, whose photos of the night-life in Dublin, Ireland — two breathtaking snapshots that show the Samuel Beckett Bridge and the Ha’Penny Bridge lighting the river beneath— are the first pieces visitors see when they walk into the ACLP gallery.
Really breaking from the norm was Jennifer Esneault, an abstract photographer from Baton Rouge. A full-time portrait photographer who got her first camera at 9 years old, Esneault recently began focusing more on her personal art — even acquiring the services of the high school students whose magazine-style senior portraits she takes.
But there’s one stipulation when selecting those.
“I only ask the [seniors] who want out-of-the-box portraits,” she said with a laugh. “That’s how I know.”
Esneault, who’s had work on display in Venice, described herself as a conceptual artist whose work is “informed by my own experiences and imagination.” She prefers working with a single subject to get her point across.
Perhaps her most eye-popping piece is one that literally appears to be popping — it depicts a woman in a white dress whose head is completely hidden by smoke after being “blown up.”
It’s a feeling everyone can identify with, Esneault joked.
“I don’t think there’s one person who can’t relate to the feeling of your head exploding,” she said.
Esneault wants her work to reflect her innermost feelings in order to form a connection with those who see it.
“There’s a place in your head where you have secrets, things you never talk about,” she said. “I try to find that one thing and then think about how I can visually interpret that feeling to the rest of the world.”
Work from the Louisiana Photographic Society will be on display through Saturday, July 27. People can visit the free ACLP exhibit anytime between 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Arts Council is located at 133 Hummell Street in downtown Denham Springs.
For more information on the Louisiana Photographic Society, visit www.laphotosociety.com.