APEX — About an hour outside of Paris in Giverny, France, late artist Claude Monets gardens display a riot of different-colored flowers.
But theres no need to take a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to get a view of the famous impressionists gardens. Photographer Mike Weitzmans free exhibit at The Halle Cultural Arts Center features the gardens and other landscapes across the United States and the world.
Its just breathtaking, Weitzman, of Cary, said of the gardens. Its where some of his most famous paintings were done. I had the opportunity to walk through his gardens and see where he painted and lived and tried to capture some of that.
Im not sure I can fully capture what your eye, your mind sees when you walk through these gardens. I tried to capture a piece of it.
The exhibit opened Jan. 10 and ends Feb. 7. While Weitzman is the featured artist, three other new artists have works in the smaller galleries.
Weitzman, 71, a former Goldman Sachs financial counselor for widowers, started as an amateur photographer in high school, taking pictures during family events and vacations.
He started getting serious about showing his work about four years ago at the encouragement of family and friends. The year before, he had transitioned from film to digital and started seeing a change in the quality of his work.
His work has sold privately, and some of his photographs hang at the pediatric unit of Duke University Hospital.
What I believe I have is a passion for photography, Weitzman said. Of all the things I do, its the only thing that Im passionate about outside of my family.
I have the opportunity to share through my lens the beauty of nature that surrounds us all. Thats what Im trying to do through my exhibit.
The Halle exhibit features photographs of Monets gardens, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham and Arizonas Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
I hope with my photographs I can draw people into the (landscapes) and make them feel good about what they are seeing, Weitzman said. I want them to walk away feeling good about nature, the different varieties of nature, whether it be a woodland scene or flowers. That feeling of wonderment and appreciation of the world around them.
He focuses exclusively on landscapes and doesnt use photo-editing software to change the photos much.
I never wanted to spend time on (a) computer manipulating shots, Weitzman said. I want it to be as natural as possible.
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