Last weekend I found myself rather unexpectedly in Paducah, KY. It wasn’t until after I got there that I remembered there was an Opening Reception for Paducah Photo 2013 at the Yeiser Art Center Saturday evening. I had originally hoped to attend the reception but then declined to plan on it because of the long drive to Paducah and other demands on my schedule. Sometimes the unexpected, even inconvenient, twists of providence end up bringing us to the right place at the right time to enjoy what might otherwise have been neglected.
|Labyrinth beside Etcetera Coffeehouse.|
The presentation of Paducah Photo 2013 turned out to be fascinating. This year’s juried exhibition featured over 100 images selected from a much larger pool of entries from around the world. Submissions were open to all without restriction to size, photographic technique or content, offering photographers “an outlet for their art, encouragement for growth in their vision and presentation and cash rewards for works of exceptional merit.”
|Looking up Broadway.|
The content of the exhibit was notably eclectic with many different takes on the art of photography melded into one show that somehow felt coherent, challenging and exciting. I took away a developing sense of the new energy that is emerging in the art of photography. Paducah Photo 2013 was witness to a broad spectrum of artistic experimentation with evolving equipment and techniques that are both more and less than the traditional components of photographic art. The works featured ranged from nearly pretentious to humbly inventive in every element from subject to lighting to presentation. The impact was energizing and empowering in most every instance.
|Yeiser Art Center|
Most of all it was inspiring to see the exhibit as presented at the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah’s Historic Market House. Seeing each piece framed and presented at it’s intended size, through the artist’s choice of media and description adds a great deal of perspective that is absent when merely viewing the photos through the portal of an on-line gallery. The physical exhibit felt so much more inspiring and artistically consequential. I was grateful for the opportunity to see it in person.
|Garden seating at Max's Brick Oven Café|
While serendipity graciously allowed me to attend the reception at the Yeiser I was not so fortunate in coordinating a visit to my favorite Paducah restaurants. We had to pass on our reservations at Max’s Brick Oven Café due to a scheduling conflict on Saturday evening.
|d. Starnes Restaurant on Broadway|
Sunday we had hopes of sharing a plate of barbecue and a piece of Pecan Pie but were disappointed to find d. Starnes BBQ downtown closed. We knew that the counter at Starnes Barbecue near Noble Park, with their simple wrapped sandwiches and unbeatable prices, would be closed too, leaving us out of luck where barbecue was concerned.
|Starnes Barbecue on Joe Clfton Drive|
Luckily, when I stopped at Etcetera Coffeehouse in Paducah’s Lowertown Arts District, one of my favorite coffeehouses anywhere, they were open. I love the colorful little tables at this place and the quirky collage style counter that frequently features notes and signs displayed with humor.
|Etcetera Coffeehouse in Lowertown|
Years after my first visit I am still finding that they make consistently satisfying coffee drinks. Sunday I ordered a Cubano Latté, espresso brewed with raw sugar to twice the normal volume and fancied up with steamed milk in latté form. It was no exception. In fact I think it is my new favorite! The taste was just a little husky, as if it were tempered in a Turkish pot over an open flame and the raw sugar gives it just enough rustic sweetness to make it special. As always it was made with excellence, pretty foam art and all.
Among the notes and signs on display at Etcetera is this ceramic sentiment that has been hanging on the wall near the pick-up counter for years. I took a picture of it some time ago. I keep it on my desktop for those occasions when I need a little nudge.
Then I got to thinking, I can’t be the only one, can I?