Driftwood Beach resident Howard Gebeaux projects his artistic sense of color, context and emotion into his photography using computer technology. Fascinating flowers, striking street scenes and beckoning beach scenes will be among his display at this month’s Westmoreland County Museum Pop ‘n Art series. It opens May 17 in the original museum building with an artist’s reception from 5-7 p.m. that includes complimentary hors d’ouevres, and soda pop for sale to help build the museum’s roof fund for the Wakefield Building.
Gebeaux’s artistic style has been in development since he began his journalism career in the late 1960s after earning a BA in journalism at the University of North Carolina. As a community newspaper reporter he also took snapshots to accompany his articles. “At that time, the only way to make a shot look as good as possible was through the viewfinder of a camera, and the development process in the darkroom,” he said. “Now, with digital photography, my end result isn’t making the photo appear as close to the actual scene as possible, but what I have done using Photoshop and Painter to make a statement that means something to me. My art has to do, not with absolute reality, but with what I can do with the image.”
Over the years Gebeaux enjoyed a successful career in community journalism, working for several community newspapers in North Carolina and Virginia (editor of the Northumberland Echo, reporter/photographer/copy editor/artist for the Northern Neck News, the Westmoreland News, the Caroline Progress and the King George Journal ).
“At the Carter County News times in Moorehead City, NC and later as editor of the Northumberland Echo, in Callao I was in charge of the darkroom. I learned techniques that could change and improve a photo to emphasize what you wanted to see in it,” he said. He described adjusting contrast by making the photo darker or lighter during development, and “dodging,” using your hand or other object to decrease the exposure of certain areas of the photo to lighten them.