The Subjective Lens – Through the Eyes of Veterans


JANUARY 10 – FEBRUARY 15, 2020

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 11, 2020, 5 – 8 pm
Free and Open to the Public
Colorado Photographic Arts Center, 1070 Bannock St, Denver 80204


Tom Arnold, Michael Ciavatta, Hank Fanelli, Raymond McCoy, Marie Miller
Yvens Alex Saintil, Adrienne Sommers, Carl Steitz, Tony Taylor, Cypriane Williams

The Subjective Lens – Through the Eyes of Veterans features a compelling collection of fine art photography created by 10 Denver-area artists who have served in the U.S. military. This unique exhibition is the culmination of CPAC’s Veterans Workshop Series, a five-month program of advanced photography courses provided to participants free of charge. Each project is intensely personal, reflecting each artist’s inspirations, life experiences, creativity and point of view.


Below are brief summaries of each photographer’s project, written in the artists’ own words.
Full artist statements are included in the exhibition catalog (coming soon).

What It Was Before, ©Tom Arnold

Death of a River
Tom Arnold

These images are my voice. They show what the South Platte can be, acknowledge the agricultural history of Colorado, show how we waste this resource, and document the end result.

Michael Ciavatta

I chose to shoot the transformation of beetle kill as a metaphor for how we, as military veterans, transform. . . Given the right resources, veterans can transform themselves into new, different forms of beautiful people.

Little Man Plaza
Hank Fanelli

Little Man Plaza in north Denver is full of history — and much more than a place to get an ice cream cone on a hot summer evening.

A Force of Nature
Raymond McCoy

I realized this catastrophic event at Lawn Lake required a unique approach. . . I utilized a technique refined over several years of “in-camera-motion” revealing my spiritual response to the forces that created these debris fields, 37 years later.

Whatever It Takes ©Marie Miller

United We Stand
Marie Miller

Our strength as a nation depends on all of us standing together as a united front. The “United We Stand” project reflects my frustration (particularly as an African American artist) at the state of our nation.

Action, ©Yvens Alex Saintil

#UberInjustice: Mikey
Yvens Alex Saintil

Mikey is an extraordinary and admirable individual . . . his absence temporarily left a void in the hearts of many, and I got to witness it first-hand while documenting his family’s journey to prove his innocence.

Bob, WWII, Army, ©Adrienne Sommers

Honoring Those Who Served
Adrienne Sommers

In my photographs, I capture war veterans including a photograph or piece of memorabilia from their time in the military in the portrait. I am telling two stories: where they began, and the person they have become.

The Strasburg Project
Carl Steitz

Strasburg is on the Register of Historic Places due to its honor of being the site where the railroad linked east and west. . . I chose Strasburg as my project because sometimes in the busy day to day, it’s easy to forget to look at the beauty just down the street.

Forming, ©Tony Taylor

Tony Taylor

The experience of photographing Smitty in his workshop motivated me to begin my own creative process. I’ve learned commitment and persistence are key and the process is an ongoing continuum of learning and sharing.

Yarely ©Cypriane Williams

3 Questions
Cypriane Williams

My photography project narrates the measure of voices and identities from a chorus of women of color residing in the Denver area.

Exhibition Catalog available for purchase through Blurb or at the Gallery.


Originally launched in August 2017, the Veterans Workshop Series gives local veterans with a passion for photography access to advanced photographic education free of charge.

Over five months, participants learned to refine technical skills, hone ideas into a body of work, create a portfolio, write about their work, and present their projects to the community through an exhibition at CPAC.

Each artist was asked to consider a personal project and to explore a narrative that goes beyond a single frame. The exhibition represents a broad range of subject matter because each project is a deeply personal expression of the individual. For example, Cypriane Williams captures empowering portraits of women of color who live in the Denver area, providing them with a platform to share their stories. Carl Steitz photographs the town of Strasburg east of Denver to remind us to take time to see the beauty around us.

As a mentor to the artists throughout this rigorous program, I have seen tremendous growth and development of each artist’s project. It has been my honor to work closely with them, hear their stories, and try to see the world though their eyes.

–Samantha Johnston
Executive Director, Colorado Photographic Arts Center


CPAC extends our deepest gratitude to our partners, sponsors, and donors for making this exhibition possible. The 2019 Veterans Workshop Series was created in partnership with Art of War Project, Task Force ISO, and VFW Post 1. Funding for this program was generously provided by the Imagine 2020 Cultural Fund through Denver Arts & Venues, The David and Laura Merage Foundation, and individual donors.

Additional support is provided by Reed Art & Imaging, Hahnemuhle Paper, Blurb, and Metropolitan Frame Company. We also wish to thank our wonderful workshop instructors: Frank Varney, Patti Hallock, Samantha Johnston and Paul Weinrauch.

David & Laura Merage Foundation
Reed Art & Imaging
Hahnemuhle Paper Makes the Difference
Metropolitan Frame Company