Opening eyes to the 'Junk in the Trunk'

Photographer brings neglected things to life

Mark Montgomery transforms images of rusty old vehicles into abstract art. His series of abstract photos called Junk in the Trunk will open at Olio in Mancos on Sept. 6. Enlargephoto

Mark Montgomery/For The Mancos Times

Mark Montgomery transforms images of rusty old vehicles into abstract art. His series of abstract photos called "Junk in the Trunk" will open at Olio in Mancos on Sept. 6.

"There's life in old rusty cars," says local photographer Mark Montgomery, and he's out to help you see it in his show "Junk in the Trunk."

For four years, he's been working on this theme, bringing out the details in rusted vehicles and farm equipment to turn them into brilliantly colored abstract art.

Once he finds a small section that stands out, he'll have the photo printed on a watercolor paper and enhance the photo with pastels.

Many people see an underwater scene or an aerial landscape when they first look at his work, he said. Some of the impressions are intentional because he is looking to make images that mimic nature, and it has helped him pay attention to detail.

"I've learned to focus in on the smaller things that surround us," he said.

But varied impressions are a key part of the intent of an abstract piece, and he doesn't even like to title his work so that the viewer is free to interpret it themselves.

"If they see something completely different than what I see, that's good," he said.

Mark got started in photography in the late '80s and his degree in the art from the University of California, San Diego.

"I picked up a camera and could never quite let it go," he said.

He began embellishing his photos with oils when he was developing his photos in a 1950s Airstream trailer that he converted into a darkroom. But the technique dates back to the 1920s and 1930s.

"I liked that look of an old black-and-white photograph, with a tint in of color," he said. He continued to the technique when he moved into digital photography because it had become his trademark.

Some of his work from his darkroom days is on display in a New York gallery, while some of his abstract work is now on display in California and Prescott, Ariz. The McElmo Canyon resident came to the area 14 years ago and now also works for a company in Durango as a wedding and events photographer.

His abstract series featuring color and texture will be shown with Barbara Girst's show "Fluidity," which focuses on light, water and motion starting Sept. 6.

"We just seem to be a good fit, to complement one another," Montgomery said.

The opening reception for the show will be Sept. 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Olio, 114 West Grand Ave.

Local photographer Mark Montgomery demonstrates his technique for embellishing his abstract photos with pastels. Enlargephoto

Mark Montgomery/For The Mancos Times

Local photographer Mark Montgomery demonstrates his technique for embellishing his abstract photos with pastels.