Seeking - and finding - beauty through a lens

NEIGHBORS

July 02, 2002|By Dana Klosner-Wehner | Dana Klosner-Wehner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IF YOU'RE planning to visit Washington to celebrate Independence Day this week, you'll be sure to see posters and T-shirts adorned with a photograph of fireworks behind the Washington Monument.

The photo, "Celebrating Freedom," was taken by Long Reach photographer Edmund W. Stawick last year. It was chosen by the National Park Foundation and TouristArt.com to become a poster and T-shirt for the Fourth of July.

A portion of the profits from the merchandise sales will go to the Greater Washington National Parks Fund.

"I am proud that my picture will benefit the Washington area national parks and monuments as well as commemorate the first Fourth of July after Sept. 11," Stawick said.

Stawick, 46, has been a professional photographer for five years. Before that, he was a computer software designer and developer.

"I was there [in his last company] 13 years when a new president came in and decided to fire everyone that had been there over 10 years," Stawick said. "Then it became, `What do you want to be when you grow up?' Shortly after that, my mother passed away and that added, `And remember life is short.'"

That's when he started his business, Acts of Light Photography.

His work has taken him from Key West, Fla., to Alaska and from the coast of Maine to the coast of California and lots of places in between, he said.

"I love creating things," he said. "I love looking at the world around me, finding beautiful pieces and taking pictures."

His work is mostly landscape and photos of architectural work, he said. His photographs are being displayed at Gallery 2000 on Connecticut Avenue and Urban Arts Gallery in Union Station, both in Washington. He also creates digital movies and slide shows set to music.

He is working on a book documenting some of the late Charles Kuralt's favorite people and places. He made about 65,000 images and collected 50 hours of taped interviews for the book, Charles Kuralt's Favorite Places - A tribute to a man and his America, he said.

The National Park Foundation is an organization chartered by Congress to raise money for national parks, said Jennifer Carson, the foundation's public relations director.

"We're thrilled with the picture. We think it's beautiful," Carson said. "The pictures presented to us were all of the monumental skyline. This one appealed to us because of the fireworks. That gave it a very American appeal."

"His work is more like a painting than photography," said Jim Siemer, president and co-founder of TouristArt.Com, a merchandising company. Siemer said he approached Stawick when he saw his work at the Cherry Blossom Festival this spring.

"He really captures scenes of Washington in the most brilliant colors and most brilliant displays of light that I've seen," Siemer said.

The poster and T-shirt are on sale at gift shops and national monuments in Washington. They also are being sold at gift shops at Dulles and National airports.

Stawick said he is thrilled.

"A friend from Baltimore was leaving from Dulles," Stawick said. "She called and said my poster is all over the airport."

The poster and T-shirts will be on sale indefinitely, Stawick said.

Information: ActsofLightPhotography.com, or 301-596-4804.

Children's programs

If you're ready to get your kids out of the sun for a little while this summer, enjoy the east Columbia library's children's programs this month. The library is at 6600 Cradlerock Way.

"Around the World in Thirty Days" includes multicultural stories and crafts. On July 19, children will "travel" to Japan without leaving the library by way of a Japanese-themed story and craft in a program called "Japanese Screens." The program is to be held from 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Registration will begin July 12.

Next stop will be a program called "Mexican Paper Flowers," with a Mexican-themed story and craft from 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. July 29. Registration will begin July 22. These programs are for children ages 5 through 10.

If you're planning a vacation that involves a long drive, prepare with "Car Games." Mary Grant will teach kids new twists on old favorites such as Rock, Paper, Scissors and License Plate Bingo. She will have new games, too. The program has two sessions for 6- to 8-year-olds July 23. The first session will be held from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; the second from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Registration will begin July 16.

Kids can enjoy an indoor picnic and a good book with Book-Nic. Kids ages 6 to 8 take a sandwich, and drinks will be provided. Each of the four one-hour sessions includes a story and a craft. Book-Nic will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesdays this month, beginning next week. Registration begins one week in advance.

For a little outdoor reading fun, enjoy "Market Tales," a family story time at the Farmers' Market on the library's parking lot, rain or shine. This program runs from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 29. Admission is free, and no registration is required. No program will be held this week.

Information and registration: 410-313-7730.

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