Navy photographer puts images on display

Sep 25th, 2008 | By | Category: Campus News, September 25, 2008

September has been a debut of sequestered talent for Gerald Logan.

Gerald Logan
ARTIST’S REACTION – Gerald Logan, a custodian with the East Union, looks at his photo “Children of the Village,” shot while he was stationed in the Philippines with the U.S. Navy in the 1960s. The photo is part of Logan’s first exhibition, on display through Sept. 30 in the Loft Gallery of the East Union.

Known to most as a second-shift janitor in the East Union, Logan is also a photographer, self-trained with some assistance by the U.S. Navy. His first professional exhibition – featuring his early work while stationed in southeast Asia in the 1960s – is on display through Sept. 30 in the East Union’s Loft Gallery.

“I guess you could say I was an artist from the get go – from as soon as I could pick up a pencil,” said Logan.

A high school drop out, Logan enlisted in the Navy in 1964 at the age of 17. His motivation was simple, to get away from his “drunken old man.” He earned his GED in the Navy and scored well enough on intelligence and classification tests to have his choice of assignments.

“Since the Navy doesn’t have a rating for artist third class, I took the next closest thing,” said Logan. “I chose photography and was assigned to the U.S. Naval School of Photography in Pensacola, Florida.”

The Navy trained him how to shoot with a hand-held camera along with aviation and aerial reconnaissance photography. After he completed the instruction, Logan’s first duty station was with the fleet intelligence center at Kiwi Point Station in the Philippines.

He worked with recon film from southeast Asia – primarily photos taken over Vietnam, Laos and China – processing it, making prints and following orders of the “intelligence guys.” He also shot some base photography, including work for the base newspaper.”

The Loft Gallery exhibit photos do not include any official U.S. Navy images. They feature the people (and a water buffalo) of southeast Asia.

“I shot these pictures on weekends, when I was able to take an extended pass and go far from the base and into the rural villages,” said Logan. “I was quite interested in the fact that these people were dirt poor by American standards, but were very rich in something we don’t really have, which is cohesiveness in community, love and support for each other.”

The exhibit is a first for Logan, something he said is part of his “artistic liberation.”

“After the Navy, I prostituted my talents in the advertising industry,” said Logan. “Advertising is disposable art and it was never very gratifying. This exhibit is a way to move beyond that.”

Reshell Ray, assistant director for Student Involvement and curator for the Loft Gallery, said Logan’s exhibit has been well received.

“It’s been great watching people move down the line of photos, reading the information and learning as they go,” said Ray.  “The images are very strong, but there is also a great educational element to it.”

Based on the response, Logan is planning a second exhibit that will feature faces of the world. He has not set a date for the exhibit.

“It’s been a really good feeling presenting these images as fine art,” Logan said. “And, I’m proud to be able to share the with faculty, staff and students.”

Story by Troy Fedderson, University Communications

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