HEMET: Cellphone image wins at new gallery location

Sherri Domenigoni was taken aback when a Navajo tour guy advised her to only carry a cellphone and leave her real cameras behind during a guided hike through a gorgeous red-rock slot canyon near Page, Ariz.

She reluctantly followed his advice. She now is glad. Her telephone photos from the hike look beautiful as prints. They are a highlight of this month’s show at the Hemet Valley Art Association’s new gallery at 114 N. Harvard St. in the city’s downtown district.

They also are an exhibit on my online Cellphone Art Gallery that I post on my blog and the www.facebook.com/CellphoneArt page.

Domenigoni was astonished to see the quality of the phone photographs.

The gallery, which displays art and offers classes, moved last fall from a shopping center at Yale Street and Florida Avenue in Hemet. Earlier, it was housed in the Farmer’s Corner in San Jacinto. Domenigoni, who is a retired science teacher from the San Jacinto Unified School District, serves on the art association’s board and chairs its scholarship committee.

She said one reason the gallery moved was to be part of the improvements being made to revitalize Hemet’s old downtown, which is a most worthy mission. It is a nice addition to the street. It gives people a place to visit.

She said Richard Dana, a retired Hemet police chief, pitched in to remodel the new gallery space, which is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The retired chief is the husband of Sharyn Dana, who is president of the community art association.

Domenigoni said foot traffic for the gallery is way up following the move downtown.

Visitors, I’m certain, will be captivated by Domenigoni’s series of shots of the slot canyon. They will be on display through Saturday, March 1. One was awarded best of show for photography in the gallery’s February display, topping images taken by photographers using real cameras. “As far as I know, they are pretty horrified,” she said.

Three other slot canyon shots won awards too.

Domenigoni said she carried a Nikon D3000 with a telephoto lens and a trusty Nikon pocket camera before she began the canyon hike. The guide, who was a photographer, told her to leave the big cameras behind and just bring her cellphone.

“I wanted all three cameras when I went in there,” said Domenigoni, a self-described Nikon girl. “He said, ‘You don’t need that big thing.’”

She was pleasantly surprised that he was correct. She now plans to use her phone to create photos, but also will continue to take pictures with her real camera, especially for shots of birds. Digital SLR cameras are superior to phones because of their lenses and adjustments for speed, low light and depth of field.

Still, highly portable, always-at-hand phones are producing great photos. Check out the galleries on my CellphoneArt Facebook page to see examples.

Feel free to post your own artistic phone photos on the Facebook page or email full resolution images directly from your telephone to bpratte@pe.com

Domenigoni’s phone prints, which are framed and matted, are for sale. The best of show “The Candle in the Canyon” image is a big, 20-by-30-inch print that sells for $250. Smaller 8-by-10 prints from her series cost $75 apiece.

Contact Bob Pratte at 951-368-9078 or bpratte@pe.com

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