Dennis DeHart

I recently reviewed portfolios of photographic educators at the SPE National Conference in San Francisco. This week I am featuring some of the terrific work I got a chance to see….

I first saw this image of Dennis DeHart’s when it was celebrated as part of the Gift of Gift of 2011 selection. It’s a wonderful evocative portrait, contemporary and yet, feels from another era. I was thrilled to see Dennis’ entire portfolio of his series, At Play, the SPE portfolio reviews.

Dennis was born in Hood River, OR and grew up in Seattle, WA. Dennis holds a M.F.A. in Photography from The University of New Mexico and a Bachelors degree from The Evergreen State College. Dennis is currently an Assistant Professor and area coordinator of Photography with Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. Dennis’ work has been exhibited in group and solo shows in the United States, Spain, Turkey, China, New Zealand, The Netherlands, and Lithuania. Dennis has received grants and awards from the New York State Council on the Arts, Arizona Commission on the Arts, and The Beaumont Newhall / Van Deren Coke Fellowship.

At Play: Nietzsche wrote “maturity consists in having found once again the seriousness one has as a child at play.” Twenty years after reading this, the quote seems even more apt as I observe and participate with play in my own children’s life. The series places the context of nature at the forefront of consciousness, while framing nature play as integral to childhood development and education. Family and community are central to At Play. I draw inspiration from personal and cultural myths, family stories, homes, travels, and the backyard. All the photographs were taken in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho) USA.