No. 24. Black Lives Matter (A Small Town March)

On June 12, 2020, a large group of protesters marched peacefully to say “Black Lives Matter,” through the streets of Hamburg, PA, a small industrial town of 4,300. Around 225 marched. Police estimated 300 to 500. Quite a few townspeople watched from the sidewalks and waved support, including elderly people, some walking with canes. Others showed support from their porches. When marchers passed a bikers’ watering hole, customers stood resp.ectfully as the march passed by. A tiny group of vocal counter-protesters, several with automatic weapons, gathered at a veterans memorial obviously trying to provoke an incident and intimidate marchers. One yelled racist epithets at a couple of small children who were walking with their mother. Marchers handled the provocations peacefully and with great discipline.

This march is emblematic of what is happening in small towns all across the United States in response to the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis following quickly on the heels of the killing of Ahmed Aubrey by racist vigilantes in Georgia and the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY, by cops who stormed unannounced into her home.

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography and Encaustic Art He is an outstanding location photographer, with an eye that can capture the soul of a Havana back street as beautifully as the sip of a hungry hummingbird, often with compelling black and white images. But Jay Ressler is best known for artistic expression that lives in layers between opposites. “I like to explore boundaries,” he explains. “Boundaries between consciousness and the unconscious, between reality and imagination, between certainty and skepticism.” He does this by compositing his own photography in multiple layers to produce stunningly original, interleaved images. Using Photoshop, other image manipulation software and a variety of digital effects, he paints one photographic layer on top of another. He takes advantage of textures he's captured along with an array of processes for manipulating light, contrast, and color to tell the story. “Distorting and reinterpreting the literal 'machine moments' captured by the camera is as old as the art of photography,” he insists. Jay occasionally extends his multi-layered approach to encaustic mixed media creations. Based on ancient techniques, the process begins with cooking his own recipes of beeswax and damar resin and applying this medium between the layers of photographic images, along with various pigmented compounds and materials to add color, texture and expression. Either way, the results are riveting. The viewer is drawn into an unfolding, dreamlike scene that might be heart-warming, haunting, gritty, poignant or magical. Sometimes, within the various layers, all of the above. The award-winning photographer/artist has many dimensions himself. He studied advanced digital photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and advanced encaustic techniques with leading instructors in the field. He worked as an underground coal miner, steelworker, machinist, labor and civil rights activist, copywriter and commercial printer. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.

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