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Guest artist Olson takes trifold approach to photography

May 2, 2011
By BILL ACKERBAUER , The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - Judy Olson is meticulous about the details that go into the presentation of her work.

Olson, a former color evaluator for the Saratoga Springs-based printing house Quad Graphics, has an eye for the precise qualities that go into making a two-dimensional image as powerful as it can be. This attention to detail is key to her photography, which takes center stage today at the 53rd Fulton County Art Show, where she is the featured guest artist.

From the thousands of photos she has captured, Olson has selected 40 that she feels are suitable for public viewing.

Article Photos

'Birches' is an example of Judy Olson's photographic overlay images, on display this week at the Fulton County Art Show. (Image courtesy of Judy Olson)

"I don't put work out there that isn't of the quality that I think it should be," she said.

Olson, who lives in a Northville-area log cabin with her husband, Eric, enjoys photographing the natural scenery of the Adirondacks, resulting in a finished product that she intends to be stress-relieving for herself and for her viewers.

"Nature is so healing," she said. "One of the things that a photographer can do is to take what they see to other people, especially nature."

But scenic photography is just one of her creative pursuits: She also creates overlay images in which she blends two or more of her photographs, digitally merging foreground and background to make a new image that is more than the sum of its parts.

"The photographer is just one part of me," she said. "There also is the artist side of me that wants to put myself more into the work." Olson's inner artist also steps forward to produce images she calls "kaleidographs" - images in which one segment of a photo is copied and reproduced around a central axis, creating an effect that she describes as both "natural and abstract at the same time."

Altering a photo and making its subject less recognizable, she says, prompts the viewer stop and gaze a while longer.

"You get to notice all the things that you wouldn't [with a more conventional photo] if you allowed your brain to name it and walk on," she says.

Olson, a native of Torrington, Conn., studied photography at Fulton-Montgomery Community College in the early 1990s. She credits veteran Gloversville photographer Frank Ambrose with teaching her many important photographic techniques.

Her work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions around upstate New York, and several of her photos have earned awards from arts organizations.

Though she does not typically shoot portraits or work on commission, she treats photography as a business as well as a creative endeavor.

"I have something that people feel an affinity with, and I am determined to make it work," she said.

For more information about Judy Olson's work, see her website,



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