Part of the unwritten code of being a professional photographer is to freely share your knowledge with your colleagues and be humble enough to acknowledge that there are people who are more talented than you.
I’ve done a lot of news and sports photography over the past eight years at The Commons, but I feel I’ve yet to take my best photo. And I certainly need a lot more work before I can produce the sort of sports portraits that Emma Rueter has produced.
Rueter, who went to Hilltop Montessori School and was a member of the Class of 2016 at Brattleboro Union High School, is in the process of building up a career as a studio photographer. She currently has an exhibition, called “For the Love of the Game,” at the C.X. Silver Gallery on Western Avenue in Brattleboro.
The exhibit features black-and-white portraits of high school athletes at BUHS. In the artist’s statement with her exhibit, Rueter says that her vision “was to portray high school athletes competing at the peak of their performance. ... So much of sports is focused on the outcome of the competition. Little is attributed to what constant training prepares an athlete to endure mentally and physically during a match.”
In an email interview, Rueter told me that she “chose athletes for each sport I photographed who actually played that sport.
“I could have picked any random person and told them to do a layup or act like they were celebrating a goal, but that person wouldn’t know how to do a layup organically or feel the same feelings as someone would who knew what it was like to score a goal and celebrate in the different sport styles.
“I also played a number of the sports I photographed. I played varsity soccer, hockey and lacrosse in high school, and even though they’re different, there’s the same camaraderie felt by all athletes who play competitive sports.
“Everyone knows how it feels to work your ass off to become a starter, or perfect the perfect move, or do wind sprints, but also how it feels to be part of a team who has your back and supports your success and failures.”
Rueter said that she started out being interested in drawing in pencil, then switched to working in watercolors. She then was captured by what she calls “the fluidity of color and the preciseness of lines and photos in general.”
“I started taking photos because they were more precise than just drawing and I loved the magic of being able to capture a moment in time,” she continued. “Photographs are another way of touching another soul and making someone feel something without using words.”
She studied photography at BUHS and credits David Mazor with teaching her the fine points of studio photography, particularly lighting; but Rueter said her photo style has been mostly inspired by her art teachers.
She credits one of her middle school teachers at Hilltop, Finn Campman, with learning about using color and light in her analog art. Those principles were easily transferable to digital photography.
Lydia Thompson from the River Gallery School in Brattleboro was another teacher Rueter credits with helping her learn how to work with color through painting with oils and pastels.
But she said her biggest artistic inspiration is her cousin, Margie Livingston, a painter who lives in Seattle.
“She is dedicated to her work and it amazes me how creative she is in coming up with new ideas,” Rueter said.
Commercial photography can be a brutal field with intense competition for assignments, but Rueter said she is willing to work at building up her business.
“I’m doing a few portrait sessions and weddings, and family shoots, but I’d like to really find one niche that I can make unique and be really good at, and establish myself based on that. ... I believe there is a place for everyone and, maybe in the future, I would work for a company who does shoot sports or fashion photos in the studio or with natural light.
“But, right now, I’m still trying to just establish myself and give people something they can have for the rest of their lives and share my own creative ideas.”
Rueter is also interested in becoming a lawyer, but she is not yet ready to give either career precedence.
“People are very supportive and offer ideas about what I can do to help me pursue my dreams of becoming a lawyer and photographer, or how I can be successful in both fields,” she said. “I’m still figuring out all the ins and outs of establishing a business which has been really insightful and I’m learning lots about business in general along the way. I always wish I could learn more.”
Currently, Rueter is going to Greenfield Community College and is finishing up an associate’s degree in business with an eye on transferring to a four-year school and begin her pursuit of a law degree.
“I have always had many different interests mainly in business, law, psychology, and anything creative or artistic,” she said.,“but I want to be able to help people or make some kind of positive impact in their lives.”
Rueter’s exhibition runs through July 11 at C.X. Silver Gallery. The gallery is open daily by appointment by calling 802-257-7898, or you can check out more of Rueter’s work at erueterphotography.com.
Sunrise Rotary hosts ping-pong tourney
• The Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary Club and the Brattleboro Area Table Tennis Club will host a ping pong tournament Saturday, June 23, at 118 Elliot in Brattleboro.
The tournament is open to youth ages 18 and under, novice and advanced players.
Sign-ups are from 6 to 6:45 p.m., with warm up games. Entry fees are $15 for advanced and novice tournaments, $5 for the youth tournament. All tournaments are double elimination and start at 7 p.m.
Advanced players are encouraged to play with a weird paddle, their off hand, etc. to help level the playing field in the earlier rounds to make it more fun and competitive for all concerned.
Food and beverages will be sold by Hazel Restaurant. Additional sponsorship provided by Phillips, Dunn, Shriver and Carroll, P.C., 118 Elliot, Accur8 Software, and Hazel. Tournament questions should be directed to Sandy Shriver at 802-380-1960 or Ashriver2011@gmail.com.
Senior bowling roundup
• Team 2 (28-7) is in first place after Week 7 of the summer season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League. Team 3 (22-13) is in second place, followed by Team 8 (21-14), Team 1 and Team 7 (both 20-15), Team 9 and Team 4 (both 17-18), Team 5 (16-19), and Team 6 (12-23).
Edna Fletcher had the women’s high handicap game (228), while Arlene Blum had the high handicap series (655). Jack Carlson had the men’s high handicap game (256), while Al Dascomb had the high handicap series (651). Team 7 had the high team handicap game (884) and Team 4 had the high handicap series (2,490).
In scratch scoring, Carlson (559), Gary Montgomery (527), and Jerry Dunham (527) all had 500-plus series. Carlson had a 231 game, while Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 208 and Montgomery rolled a 210.
SEVCA golf tourney raises $11,000
• Southeastern Vermont Community Action’s (SEVCA’s) 17th annual “Chipping Away at Poverty” Benefit Golf Tournament on June 8 at the Brattleboro Country Club raised nearly $11,000 to support SEVCA’s essential anti-poverty programs serving low-income individuals and families in Windham and Windsor counties.
Longstanding supporters and new friends from local, regional, and national businesses, SEVCA’s Weatherization and Crisis Fuel program vendors, local service providers, staff members, and the community sponsored and/or engaged in friendly competition to raise funds for the agency’s services.
SEVCA dedicated the tournament to the memory of Harald Schmidtke, its Weatherization Director, who passed away on April 2. Harald demonstrated an unwavering commitment to SEVCA’s mission during his 25 years with the agency, and he played in the golf tournament every year to help raise money to further that mission.