There are only 13 photographs, but the mini-show that just opened in the dining section of Tacoma’s The Swiss Restaurant and Pub speaks on behalf of some 3,500 people. Awesome Tacoma, a Facebook group for photography enthusiasts dedicated to showing the best side of their town, is now out of the virtual world and into the real one, with a dozen artists capturing Tacoma in a row of highly saturated cityscapes.
And it’s true — Tacoma really does look awesome in many of these shots. There’s Ann D’Angelo’s postcard-perfect view of the Tacoma Narrows bridge framing a huge setting sun, golden clouds floating overhead like flames. There’s the energy of a left-to-right momentum rolling through three different shots: Sharon Steyer’s “Switchman,” with his lonely flashlight guiding a rolling train, the reaching silver cone of the Museum of Glass with a glowing “Water Forest” sculpture in the foreground by Rob Green, and the rush of a Link train through a wet-lit Pacific Avenue by Victor Dallons.
There are more beautiful waterfront sunsets and icons like Frisko Freeze, all with extra color edited in for a cinematic effect.
But there’s a difference between awesome and pretty, and except for one shot, this exhibit doesn’t even go there. Part of what makes Tacoma (or any town) great is its people, and R.C. Victorino embodies this in his portrait of the Free Hugs guy — face laid-back and smiling, swathed in a vivid rainbow lei against the blue-tinted black-and-white of the crowd milling behind. It’s this joy, rather than mere prettiness, that truly makes Tacoma awesome.
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As the leaflet for the show explains, these photographs are all about civic pride and photographic creativity. They are for sale, but if you want to find out more, you’ll have to connect with the group on Facebook, discovering more photos on the way.
IF YOU GO
What: “Awesome Tacoma” photography show.
Where: The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, 1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma.
When: Open 11 a.m.-12 a.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays. Exhibit up through August.