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Red Wing's Rob Meyer exhibits black-and-white images at Tower View

Black-and-white images by Red Wing photographer Rob Meyer go on display March 26 at the Anderson Center.1 / 2
Photographer Rob Meyer2 / 2

"Negative Space," a collection of black-and-white silver print images photographed by Rob Meyer during his travels around the globe, goes on display March 26 at the Anderson Center at Tower View.

An artist reception is set for 6:30 p.m. in the historic residence; the exhibition will open at 7:30 p.m. in the main art gallery. Both events are free and open to the public.

"All of the images are of people," said Meyer, who has traveled the world for years searching out cultural imagery. The photos were shot on film during the past 10 years; he has a darkroom and studio, Robert Meyer Photography, at his Red Wing home.

The images represent cultures of the Pacific Rim as well as rural America, said Anderson Center officials, who added, "His ability to capture a wide variety of subject matter has given his photographs a uniquely personal perspective."

Meyer explained, "Traveling to different parts of the world and immersing myself in other cultures provides a perspective that cannot be gained by sitting in front of a big screen TV. Every sense is triggered in new and shocking ways by both the beauty and the tragedy.

"Through my photographs, I try to bring a little of the visual mystique home as a reminder of what at times can feel like life on another planet."

Meyer has gone on self-guided journeys to China, Vietnam, Laos and India, where he documented rural and urban life in regions that are fast changing under western influences.

With each trip, Meyer said he has witnessed greater and greater cultural changes. Those include the adaptation of more tourism and a wider use of the English language.

Each of the foreign countries made a distinct impression on him, Meyer told the R-E.

"The thing I enjoy about being in India - it's a country where people are OK about being Indian. In Laos, family life is something they enjoy much more than anyplace else I've been in this world," he explained.

Meyer also has gained a regional reputation for his stark, evocative black-and-white images shot in the United States. Some feature iconic American rural landscapes. Others capture sometimes overlooked places.

"A lot of these places are being demolished or simply falling apart," Meyer pointed out. "I preserve what I can by photographing them, and I find people are very responsive. We all share this history."

One grouping of these photos focuses on a lone man who herds 2,000 sheep in western Utah, Meyer said. "I lived with him for a week and did nothing but take photos."

Many faces will be seen in the show.

"I'm only hoping that some of the photos will affect each person," Meyer said - that people will come away from the exhibit with new perspectives on their own lives or new thoughts about other parts of the globe.

"There's a bit world out there," he said, encouraging people to "see if we can be part of it somehow."

That's exactly what he and his wife, Michelle Meyer, are contemplating for their next "grand plan," he said. "We're talking about taking a bicycle trip around the world - down the road."

A graduate of the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver, Meyer has seen his work in several national publications, including The World & I, The Sun, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times and Rocky Mountain News, as well as in Minnesota Monthly, City Pages, St. Paul Pioneer Press and Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he was a photojournalist from 1993 to 1995.

He won a 1994 Associated Press award for feature photography, a 1996 Minnesota Center for Photography People's Choice award, a 1998 Montana Newspaper Association award for best photo story, and 2006 Best of Show award at the Stockholm Art Fair.

For more information, call the Anderson Center at (651) 388-2009.