Columbia City Gallery 7th Annual Juried Exhibit

I’m very excited to be included in this show. I do hope you can stop by the reception or during the show’s run to see my work and all of the other artists. Here is the Artist’s Statement for the show they asked for:

Tom Schabarum

Many years ago, the Poet, Jason Shinder, asked me if I was a photographer after he’d read a selection of my poems. He said, “your poems are very visual.” I was surprised, but laughed a little, and told him no, that I had been taking pictures all my adult life, but that I didn’t pursue it either as a hobby or professionally. I was studying at Bennington in their MFA Writing Seminars to become a better writer.

Years later, I find myself delving deeper into photography because I’ve always been drawn to it since I was young, and now I had the time to pursue it more as a hobby. I’m drawn to melancholic imagery, moods, and the struggle between positive and negative space, and what is in each, or not, that contributes to the image’s story.

For me, it can’t just be a pretty picture. It has to say something, or present a feeling to the viewer. Just as in writing, the smallest detail illuminates an entire chasm within a character, or sets in motion actions that have consequences.

Here the detail of the traffic cone – what we view as a warning – makes for a sort of story in and of itself. What has happened here to cause someone to put a traffic cone on top of a piling?

Or the empty diving boards on the abandoned piers, strung together, away from harm’s way and winter storms. What was once lively in summer isn’t. What was once summer’s joy is now a memory.

These are two of a series of photographs taken in and around Seward Park near my home. It’s an endlessly fascinating park that is constantly changing. These are my first exhibited photographs, which is very exciting. Thanks to the judges, Columbia City Gallery, and the people of Rainier Valley that make life here so interesting.

You can find my writing at or follow all things arts-related on my blog called Word Incident at


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