The photographer amplifies the small joys with his quest for “inner light”

“A photographer is a light hunter, we hunt light,” says Elizabeth George, one of the artists selected for this year’s Photofest 2021 exhibition. “I pursue beauty, not just light. I hope to bring light to people’s lives. Light awareness.

The Photofest 2021 exhibition at the Artport gallery features art photographs by 33 local artists. This is one of many rotating exhibitions organized by the Council on Culture & Arts on behalf of the City of Tallahassee as part of the Art in Public Places program. In addition to the physical exhibition, the 100 individual works of art submitted to the exhibition can be viewed in COCA’s online gallery.

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This will be George’s fifth Photofest since 2014. His image, “Exclamation Point”, in the Artport gallery is an encapsulation of his photographic style and philosophy. George likes to zoom in on life’s little joys and amplify them. His photograph captures the moment when a drop of water slipped from a palm leaf. George says she took a quick burst of photos to capture the photo.

Elizabeth E. George has photos on display at Sage.

“I have pictures where there is really water dripping from the palms, but this one took it just when it’s a solid drop and it looks like an exclamation mark,” explains George. “It’s a bit like capturing the moment of conception. The moment of a birth, the moment that is coming and that will never happen again. It is such a rare moment, so beautiful and it is fleeting.

Her friends and family referred to George as a photographer long before she considered herself one. His parents are Hungarian, making George a first generation American. When she was 9, her family went to visit relatives in Hungary. George begged his mother to take pictures at the zoo on the trip.

Childhood hobby

George took pictures of the animals with an instamatic camera and waited weeks for them to develop. A photo of the ducks caught his mother’s attention and elicited such a positive reaction that George was hooked. She cut out photos from National Geographic magazine, wrote short poems and haiku about the photos, and dreamed of making the cover someday.

“I realized that I could positively impact someone with photos,” says George. “I saw something beautiful and I captured it in a photo, and someone else saw it and also saw the joy and the beauty in it. It really touched me. .

George took photography classes throughout his four years in high school. She learned to use a 45-millimeter camera and navigated the dark room with aplomb. While at university, she decided to pursue a degree in education rather than photography, which sent her on the path of teaching community education for adults for 28 years.

Around 50, George realized how much he missed his first passion. With encouragement from family and friends, and the gift of a digital camera, she was back behind the lens. George wanted to photograph everything: animals, cars, people, weddings, babies. After having dabbled in everything, she was drawn to wildlife and landscape photography as well as capturing musicians at concerts.

"Circle of life," by Elizabeth E. George, one of 33 photographers in the Photofest exhibition at the Artport gallery.

In search of the “inner light”

“When you start believing in yourself, this is where the magic happens,” says George. “I love watching people do what they love to do because they are so passionate and in the moment with their art. It is an artist who captures another artist.

George stays away from studio work or staged photographs. Instead, she strives to capture “the essence of our inner light” and photograph honest moments when people act like themselves. When she lifts her camera, she feels herself become invisible and only focuses on what is happening through her lens.

Some of his favorite photographs occurred in these moments. During a drive to the Saint-Marc Wildlife Refuge, she saw a falcon flying in the distance and hung her camera on the door of her car, fleeing. She managed to capture the exact moment the hawk was flying parallel to her car, turned her head and looked into her lens.

"Online Dating," by Elizabeth E. George, which is part of the Photofest exhibition at the Artport.

Memories of the forgotten coast

After Hurricane Michael, George put together a schedule of photographs of the Forgotten Coast for sale. These photos of Port St. Joe, St. Andrews, Panama City, St. Marks and Mexico Beach showed areas destroyed by the storm. She donated all calendar profits to Second Harvest to help storm survivors.

“It means a lot to me to know that I have kept a memory for someone,” says George. “It’s really special to see your photos again and relive an experience that we may have forgotten or want to relive. I realized that photos can make a difference in people’s lives because you don’t know when something or someone is going to leave.

George’s photographs have appeared in Florida Jazz and Blues magazine, and most recently in Florida Farm and Family. She is thrilled to be a part of Photofest again and hopes the stories inside the images will resonate with viewers.

“When people say a photo moved them and brought them to tears or joy, they honor me when they say that,” George says. “It makes me feel like I’m doing something right in this world. Each photo tells a story. Some stories are poems, others are long novels. This is what I do, I tell stories by capturing an essence.

If you are going to

What: Photo festival 2021

When: 8 am-11:30pm, Sunday to Saturday until January 10

Or: Galerie Artport, 3300 Capital Circle SW

Cost: To free

Contact: For more information, visit coca.tallahasseearts.org. To view the online gallery, please visit cocaonlinegallery.zenfolio.com/.

Amanda Sieradzki is the feature film writer for the Council on Culture & Arts. COCA is the umbrella agency for arts and culture in the Capital Region (www.tallahasseearts.org).

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