Vantage Point – Personal Projects by Veterans



Exhibition Opening: Saturday, January 9, 2021

Timed-Entry Opening from 2 – 6 pm

Zoom Reception at 6:30 pm

Events are free and open to the public, but registration is required!

Colorado Photographic Arts Center, 1070 Bannock St, Denver 80204


Michael Benton, Jess Bidwell, Ronald Cable, Bob Looser, Lee Ann Montoya, Andrew Morris, Charles Peters, Lourdes Sanchez Wise, Don Stine, and Brandon Tennery

Vantage Point ⁄ Personal Projects by 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.

Missed our Virtual Opening Reception? Watch the recording now!


Below are brief summaries of each photographer’s project, written in the artists’ own words.
Full artist statements are included in the exhibition catalog available for purchase below.

Watched, © Michael Benton

Michael Benton

My daughter is my subject and at times, I composed the images with bright light to contrast with the dark negative space from the shadows and my daughter’s dress…this darkness to symbolize the dark secret of surveillance she must be aware of. Like most parents, I want the best future for my children and worry about how growing up in a time of such open information sharing will impact their future.

Working on Me, © Jess Bidwell

Starting Anew
Jess Bidwell

When I separated from the military, I had a lot of questions to answer. What would I do next? What direction would my career go? Where did I want to settle down? My time in the van is helping me to sort out answers to these questions while keeping expenses low and allowing me to explore the nation in search of my final destination.

Willie and Tasha, © Ronald Cable

Exotic Pets and Their People
Ronald Cable

While making these photographs, I learned that not everyone’s pet was purchased…Regardless of how they came to own their pet, it became abundantly clear that owners were drawn to them. In fact, a number of research studies correlate human personality types with choices of pets.

California Zephyr Arriving, © Bob Looser

Denver After Dark
Bob Looser

In this project, I created images of iconic as well as little-known places in Denver with emphasis on night photography. From my early days of film photography and through my admiration of Ansel Adams, I am drawn to the simplicity of black & white images.

Female Veterans Hidden Stories (Marla), © Lee Ann Montoya

Female Veterans Hidden Stories
Lee Ann Montoya

I chose to photograph female veterans because I feel, as a veteran myself, that we are ignored, hidden and underrepresented in society…I want to change society’s idea about women. I want to depict the strength, honor, compassion and patriotism of those of us who also served.

Say It, © Andrew Morris

Andrew Morris

Identity has never been more profound, necessary, and painful. This work represents the many identities I confront, confide in, and hide behind. It also represents the anger, sorrow, defiance, and aggression I feel living in a largely tone-deaf world.

Music City, © Charles Peters

Urban Decay
Charles Peters

In my pictures, I wish to show the community decay that is evidenced in the buildings in portions of Aurora, Colorado, both on Colfax Avenue and nearby. My photographs show where once thriving businesses were located and are now abandoned. These images are of a small, resilient city in a phase of decline, waiting for the next wave of revitalization.

Prepping for Distribution, © Lourdes Sanchez Wise

Hunger Relief in The Mile High City
Lourdes Sanchez Wise

I was moved to share Metro Caring’s staff and volunteers’ story as heroes behind the scenes, as well as capture the look on the faces of those receiving food that otherwise would not have. I photographed the process of receiving, organizing and distributing food, along with the staff, volunteers, and the people showing up to collect their weekly rations—no one is turned away.

New barrier going up, © Don Stine

The Unseen
Don Stine

The observation of people in every day life has always interested me. Generally we see pictures of the notable people and the downtrodden. I find there is this unending panorama of every day life right in front of us. I have chosen to look at the highway construction workers at this time.

Veritas, © Brandon Tennery

Lost No More
Brandon Tennery

Sometimes, it requires being vulnerable in order to regain strength. Even though it’s hard for me to speak about my time in Afghanistan, this platform to speak about my experiences is important to me. Seeing and reliving these experiences has been humbling and stressful, however, also therapeutic and that’s a blessing.

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, Brandon Tennery uses photography to demonstrate his personal struggles coming back from Afghanistan. Lourdes Sanchez Wise explores the work of the local nonprofit Metro Caring to demonstrate the need for those living with hunger in the Denver Metro Area.

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 & Curator, Colorado Photographic Arts Center


CPAC extends our deepest gratitude to our partners, sponsors, and donors for making this exhibition possible. The 2020 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 Arts in Society, a collaborative grant program funded by Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Hemera Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, SCFD, and The Colorado Health Foundation administered by RedLine.

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

Sony logo
Hahnemuhle Paper Makes the Difference
Metropolitan Frame Company
Reed Art & Imaging