Arts & Culture

The 'beauty of space'

There's more to a picture than mere imagery. A photograph has the ability to sum up the enormity of a space.

For Wichita photographer Paula D. Moore, a snapshot is a chance to see the world reflected through someone else's eyes and, in the process, gain insight into another person's point of view. Moore aims to capture the beauty and majesty of place with her lens.

"I have a great appreciation for many things in our world that others can't see," Moore said. "My view is very different."

Moore's first public showing, "From My Eyes to Yours," opens today as part of Final Friday at the new Lotus Leaf Cafe in Delano. Her 18 photographs will be on display through January.

Moore says she always wanted to be an artist. She started out doing oil paintings but soon developed an interest in photography. She had a mentor in her father, who developed his own film and gave her a Canon AE-1 camera when she was 17. Landscapes were her subject of choice, a subject her upbringing helped her appreciate.

"I grew up flying," she said. "My dad was a pilot, so I always had that perspective of the land. I think that shaped my appreciation for the beauty of space.

"I also lived in Alaska for five years when I was very young and remember the beautiful scenes my dad would capture with his camera."

Moore attended the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in the mid-1980s and completed a two-year program, earning an associate's degree in commercial illustration. She also took photography classes and interned. Her first job was as a photographer's assistant in Chicago, but her art took a back seat to her career when she entered into computer science. She always carried the passion for photos with her, though.

Moore has lived in several places — from Alaska to Chicago to Denver and now Wichita — and always had an appreciation for her surroundings. She has also traveled extensively nationally and internationally. Her photos help her connect with the land around her, she said.

"I've been to many places, but I don't appreciate one more than another because they all have a mesmerizing quality," she said.

For her inaugural show, Moore tried to include a variety of the places she's connected with.

When she moved to Kansas, she was particularly struck by the beauty of the Flint Hills and the terrain in the western part of the state.

"I just love how the light accents the rolling Flint Hills' beauty. Every time I drive through there I want to text-message someone to say, 'Weee! I'm here!' " Moore said.

Her appreciation of the Flint Hills is apparent in her black and white photograph "Teetering Rock," which features the famous site against a sunny sky.

Moore is also smitten with the milieu of western Kansas. "When you really look, it's not flat at all," she said. "It's really preparing you for the ominous mountains you're about to encounter. Without the flatness, you wouldn't have the dramatic rise."

Several of her photos integrate landscapes or objects with highly saturated colors set to a bleaker backdrop. The theme of sky vs. land is also readily seen in her work. "Red Rocks" features a whimsical, blue Southwestern sky as the backdrop to a pronounced, auburn mountain-like structure.

"We all have a different view of the world," Moore said. "When you look at my photographs, you will see the beauty the world has to offer, through my eyes."