The Town of Garner was shown at its best in the January issue of Our State magazine, a monthly periodical devoted to covering North Carolina.
The magazine, which has a circulation of 160,000, devoted two pages in the issue to a photograph of Garner’s Lake Benson Park.
The photo was taken by Garner’s Paul Malcolm in January 2016 after a winter storm. Icicles hang from the trees and the fence rails and the only color is the old red barn that stands as a sentinel near the lake.
Malcolm is a professional musician. He has played the viola in the N.C. Symphony for 40 years. But he has dabbled in photography for the last 11 or 12 years and has photographs in galleries throughout the state.
He was surprised, though when he got the call from an Our State editor, who had seen the picture on Malcolm’s Flickr account. The magazine was interested in using it as an illustration of winter in Central North Carolina.
“I love the quiet stillness of winter that this photo captures in crisp detail, from icy branches to the icicle-laden fence. The image is nearly void of color, except for the warmth provided by the strong focal point of the bright red barn,” said Jason Chenier, the Our State art director.
The park was a very cold place a year ago when Malcolm ventured out.
An ice storm had knocked out the electricity at his home and despite a fire in the fireplace the indoor temperature was in the 50s.
“50 to 59 on a nice sunny day outdoors feels great,” he said. “But in your house, it is cold. I figured if I was going to be cold, I’d take my camera and tripod over to the park and take some pictures.”
He took more than 100 pictures that day. He selected four to post on his web site.
Malcolm said he was trying to produce a picture that conveyed the cold temperature, but the picture selected by Our State does much more.
The red barn offers a contrast to the whiteness of the ice. The picture has a timeless quality. It could have been taken in 2015 or 1915. The picture reflects Garner’s rural past, but the split rail fence is a sort of barrier indicating that the past is gone.
The trees provide a sense of sturdiness and permanence.
Malcolm said he did not consciously think about how the picture could be interpreted when he composed it.
“There are a lot of similarities between music and art,” he said. “You have to see things in a different way. Much of it is about the emotion that is evoked. You try to capture emotion.”
His only previous magazine publications were a picture in Southern Living and the cover of Wildlife magazine in January 2014. He won the magazine’s wildlife photography competition with a picture of trees at Fort Fisher, which is near Kure Beach.
Malcolm looked up as he approached the remains of the Civil War fort and took a shot of sunlight streaming through the oak tree canopy.
Seeing what other people don’t see, or at least don’t think about, often is a photographer’s goal.
“When I take a picture, I am not documenting a scene; I am capturing a mood or a feeling,” he said last year when discussing his winning entry. “I am looking for some creative way to express what I see and feel about the subject.
“Music and photography are both creative passions. In concert, I get involved emotionally. In photography, I get involved simply because I enjoy taking pictures.”
Malcolm concentrates on landscapes.
“They speak to me,” he said.
Tim Stevens: firstname.lastname@example.org