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Local Talent: February 22, 2013

Photographer Robert A. Scott

A Renaissance man? Robert A. Scott fits the definition. The president of Adelphi University, Dr. Scott trained as a sociologist, and is known as a successful college educator and fundraiser. Now, his reputation as a photographer is growing, as well. An exhibit of his work is currently at the Barnes Gallery in Garden City South, and runs through the month.

The images range from the portrait of a middle-aged woman he photographed on the street during a trip to China to a simple but striking shot of a faucet with water flowing out. His photos reflect an artist who notices the mundane and the unusual.

While in China, he became fascinated with the faces of people, and before returning home, he had captured images of a beggar woman, a cleaning lady, an elegant grandmother, a young woman with children and a boy sleeping against a political poster.

The product of modest circumstances (“South of the tracks,” as he put it) in Mt. Vernon, New York, Scott attended Bucknell University as an undergraduate, and earned his doctorate at Cornell University. Throughout his life, writing has been a passion, and after joining the Navy, he honed his writing skills as a sportswriter. For him, there’s joy in the discipline, art and craft of writing.

“Writing is a visual experience for me,” he said. “It’s natural for me to move toward photography.”

According to Scott, photography, like writing, involves composition, focus, story, illumination and emotion. He suggests that good photographs, like good decisions, require timing, as well as proper lighting, color, texture and design, along with a willingness to experiment and experience failure.

“Each phase [of my photography] required leaving a comfortable place, trying something new, and facing failure, finding an opportunity for growth through challenge,” he said. “A good photograph…is not an isolated event, but part of an unfolding story.”

The Barnes Gallery is at 2 Nassau Blvd., Garden City South. The hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday.