Through Their Lens | Personal Projects by Veterans


JANUARY 12 – FEBRUARY 17, 2024

Opening Reception at Colorado Photographic Arts Center

1200 Lincoln St, Denver, CO 80203

Saturday, January 13, 2024

5 – 8 pm

All events are free and open to the public

Through Their Lens | Personal Projects by Veterans features a compelling collection of fine art photography created by 10 Colorado artists who have served in the U.S. military. This unique exhibition is the culmination of CPAC’s Veterans Workshop Series, a six-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. 

Copies of the exhibition catalog can be purchased on Blurb for $16. 

(Pictured Above: Lonely Light – Egg Rock Lighthouse, detail, by Ozell McKinney)


Jason Alfaro, Bob Grimmer, Mike Lowell, Ozell McKinney, Chris Morrow, Gurney Pearsall, Amaury PerezPulido, Cherie Sutton, Ray Trujillo, and Ken Tschappat  


Rich Caldwell, Rich Cancellare, Michael Ciavatta, Amy Forestieri, Donald M. Gardner, Elane Graves, Marla Keown, Jeff Mallo, Aaron Middleton, Andrew Morris, Eleanor Nesim, Chuck Rasco, Yvens Alex Saintil, Carl Steitz, Mike Teubner, Keal Vigil, and Dev Wiggers

Director’s Statement

Launched in August 2017, the Colorado Photographic Arts Center’s annual Veterans Workshop Series gives local military Veterans with a passion for photography access to advanced photographic education free of charge. Since we and our partners launched the program seven years ago, 60 local Veterans have graduated.   

Over the past six months, participants learned to refine technical skills, hone ideas into a body of work, create a portfolio, and write about their artistic practice. For the first time, Veterans attended the program in CPAC’s new facility at 1200 Lincoln Street and enjoyed the benefits of learning in a dedicated, state-of-the-art classroom. Their final projects will be shown to the community through an exhibition from January 12 – February 17, 2024. 

Each artist was asked to consider a personal project and to explore a narrative that goes beyond a single frame. The result is a broad range of subject matter, because each project is a deeply personal expression of the individual. For example, Cherie Sutton’s layered self-portraits explore her experience with aging combined with her multifaceted personality and lifestyle. Jason Alfaro’s portrait series of his friend Santos, a former Marine and Green Beret, underscores the transformative power of relationships, whether with the land, animals, or one another.  

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 an honor to work closely with them, hear their stories, and try to see the world through their eyes. 

Samantha Johnston
Executive Director & Curator, Colorado Photographic Arts Center 

Learn More



Special Thanks

Our Veterans Workshop Series began from a partnership with three Denver-based veterans organizations, including Task Force ISO, VFW Post 1, and The Art of War Project. Funding for the 2023 program was generously provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Prevent & Prevail, and individuals, with additional support provided by Digital Silver Imaging, Hahnemühle Paper, Metropolitan Frame Company, and Sony. 

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