Photographers Association brings winning images to Newhall Library

After 30 years in accounting, Mel Carll was burned out. One day he decided to just quit and do what made him happy: photography. Ten years ago, Carll opened a studio in Santa Clarita and has never looked back.

Carll’s work was among 20 pieces on display at the Santa Clarita Photographers Association’s winning photo exhibition at the Old Town Newhall Library on Saturday. The exhibition and reception featured photographs that won the association’s picture competitions in November and May.

Attendees gather in the meeting room at the Old Town Newhall Library during a reception for an exhibition of photographs by members of the Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association in Newhall on Friday 072922. Dan Watson/The Signal

“I’ve always been a photographer since I was a kid and I’ve always enjoyed it,” Carll said. “I was just getting burned out in the accounting world and then one day I just said, ‘I’m quitting’ and opened a studio here in Santa Clarita and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Much of Carll’s work is nature or landscape photography, digitally manipulated to enhance color and printed onto metal sheets to enhance contrast. One of his works entitled “Evening Walk” shows elephants in Botswana prance through the savannah. The image was alongside a close-up of a lion, captioned “On the Prowl,” taken in South Africa.

“I think it’s just being outside and being outside and just enjoying that, that quietness of being outside,” Carll said. “I love that. And you know, the animals were just completely different in their environment, so it’s just a completely different experience.”

Sebastian Jaramillo, 11, eats a biscuit while examining photographs at the Old Town Newhall Library during a reception for an exhibition of photographs by members of the Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association in Newhall on Friday 072922. Dan Watson/The Signal

Carll said the experience photographing wildlife in Africa spurred him on to return for more shooting soon.

Sydney Adam, Arts and Exhibitions Assistant for the City of Santa Clarita, said these types of events are not only a great way for artists to exhibit their work, but also an important way for the city to bring the amazing work of art to the attention of the community performed by local residents.

“The city thinks it’s very important to have these collaborations with local nonprofits to provide some kind of community cohesion and to support our creative members of the community,” Adams then told outside members to somehow draw attention to these organizations as well make.”

Valencia attendees Jennifer and JC Jaramillo discuss photographs on display at the Old Town Newhall Library during a reception for an exhibition of photographs by members of the Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association in Newhall on Friday 072922. Dan Watson/The Signal

Like Carll, Kevin Karzin went through a career transition before turning back to photography. Karzin worked as a photojournalist for The Signal and Associated Press before switching careers to work as an operator for a telephone company. But after an injury on the job, Karzin rediscovered his passion. Karzin’s work focused on profile photos of interesting characters, such as a man in the middle of a performance at a Renaissance faire.

“So that was last year at the Renaissance Fair down in Irwindale,” Karzin said. “And he did a performance for the Queen. she [were] simply very animated.”

Karzin now serves as President of the Photographers Association and said it’s great to see his colleagues’ art on display.

“I love it. I mean, that’s one of the things that we try to do all over Santa Clarita — is put our artwork on the market.”

Another award-winning photographer, Andrew Lewis, said he’s always been drawn to fire. During a fire on the north end of Acton, Lewis was able to capture a firefighting plane that was dropping fire suppression devices. The piece is titled On Target.

Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association President Kevin Karzin takes photos of attendees during a reception and photo exhibition held at the Old Town Newhall Library in Newhall on Friday 072922. Dan Watson/The Signal

“I have always been an avid fire watcher. My dad and I went out and looked at the fires [our] range,” Lewis said. “I heard about it just around the corner from my house… I had no excuse not to go. I was in a really good position where I was away from the fire, I was out of the way, I was at a good elevation and I could shoot straight at it. Just the right place, at the right time, with the sun behind you. It just worked.”

Whether it was a career change or a lifelong passion, these photographers saw their work as art and took pride in it. Winners of the association’s contests, these photos are among the best in Santa Clarita. Carll said when you have a passion, there’s no reason to put it off.

“Find something you like and do it. Don’t wait,’ Carll said. “I mean, I waited a long time before I really got serious about this… Don’t wait. That’s the biggest thing. Do not wait.”

The winning photos from the Santa Clarita Photographers Association will be on display at the Old Town Newhall Library through October 17.

Classical guitarist Manak Khamvongsa entertains during a reception and exhibition hosted by the Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association at the Old Town Newhall Library in Newhall on Friday 072922. Dan Watson/The Signal

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