Museum hopes to raise funds with 'Women' exhibit

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Since discovering the art of digital photography, Karl Hoffman has delved into three subject matters that interest him immensely -- energy, Western landscapes, and women.

Although he only began practicing photography recently, Hoffman has already developed an impressive portfolio focused on the previously named interests. Photographs, black and white as well as color, of his daughter, his wife, the Grand Tetons, and power plants fill his computer's hard drive.

Some of those photos will soon fill the Museum of Northwest Colorado. Hoffman has volunteered to partner with the museum to shoot an exhibit, "The Women of Moffat County," as historical art as well as a fund-raiser for the museum.

Hoffman will shoot portraits of 25 women in Moffat County who demonstrate the diverse but rich experiences found in Western culture.

The photographs will go into the museum's permanent collection and copies will be sold to raise money for the museum, which has struggled since its funding was cut to balance the 2004 county budget.

At the beginning of a new century, the exhibit will capture a unique time in Western history.

"I want to know what is their feeling on being working women going into the 21st century," Hoffman said.

Museum director Dan Davidson found room in the museum for 25 portraits, thus the limit on the exhibit.

Because the space is limited, Hoffman intends to select a wide range of women with diverse backgrounds and careers.

The names of the candidates that have been selected for the exhibit have not been released. But Hoffman said he hopes to photograph women working in everything from government to coal mines.

"Women are out there doing things in the professional world. But I don't just want the elite. I want everything from professional women to women with unusual jobs," Hoffman said.

The portrait will be shot in a setting of the subject's choosing, be it where she works, lives or plays.

The important thing is that the portrait expresses who the woman is and that through the work, those who view the images decades from now will understand the women who lived here now, Hoffman said.

While Hoffman attempts to capture the essence of the county's women through his photography, the Daily Press will interview them to explore their views on their roles in the West at the beginning of a new century.

The Daily Press will write brief biographies intended to capture who these women are. The bios will become part of the museum's permanent collection.

The Daily Press will follow the progress of the project through periodic updates, running pictures Hoffman shoots and profiles written by the staff.

The project should be finished by September. If all goes according to plan, the project's opening will be marked by a formal banquet, where many of Hoffman's photographs will be revealed to the public for the first time.

A signed, limited edition run of the photos will be printed, along with an unsigned, unlimited number of the photographs. Proceeds from the sale of all the photographs will go to the museum.

Rob Gebhart can be contacted at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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