Photog Goes to Extremes

by Warren Woodberry Jr. on February 19, 2006 for New York Daily News

New York Daily News 2-19-06

On a mission to teach young people about the effects of global warming on nature, a local photographer journeyed to “the white continent” – Antarctica.

What Holly Gordon brought back is showcased in “Antarctica: Journey to the Extreme,” an exhibit on display at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

“I hope people can comprehend the real seriousness of the matter, because Antarctica is far from home,” said Gordon, of Bay Shore.

The debut exhibition features 40 photos of icebergs, adrift in eerie waters, snow-covered mountains under stark cloud cover and festive penguin colonies.

Through her images, Gordon describes Antarctica – the coldest, windiest and driest place on Earth. Yet even with the harsh environment, ice caps have given way to atmospheric changes caused by burning fossil fuels.

“The air in Antarctica is the purest that I had ever seen,” said Gordon, adding, “but the amount of pollution has increased over the past 20 years.”

Antarctica sprawls over an area nearly as large as the U.S. and Canada combined, and more than 98% of it is covered by snow that is more than 2,000 feet thick. Gordon said that more than 90% of the world’s glacial ice is in Antarctica, and it is melting at an alarming rate.

Gordon, 63, photographed Antarctica at the dawn of the millennium between 1999 and 2000 and stayed for several days. Her journey was with a group of photographers guided by the Lindlad ecotourism group.

“I believe nature senses I’m on her side … she gives me these gifts, because I’m not that swift,” Gordon said of the image.

Gordon used 35-mm. film to shoot the photographs, which are accompanied by fact-filled descriptions of the continent’s ecological make-up and history.

After 20 years of teaching middle and high school students, Gordon began shooting in 1995. She has since traveled to such distant locales as Easter Island, the Falkland Islands and New Zealand to take photographs.

“I have this insatiable need to be in places on the planet that people don’t go,” said Gordon. “To me, that’s spiritual and I feel very close to nature [(there]).”

Although Gordon is a retired school teacher, she continues to educate children on the wonders of the world through her imagery. Gordon describes photography as her second career and her first love.

The images will be on view in the Hall of Science’s LeCroy Gallery through March 26. Later this year, the exhibit will be featured at the Long Island Science Center in Riverhead.

Picturing Galapagos Isles in Queens

by Warren Woodberry Jr. on February 27, 2005 for New York Daily News

New York Daily News 2-27-05

Nature photographer Holly Gordon may be a retired school teacher, but she continues to educate children on the wonders of the world through her Galapagos Islands photo exhibit at the New York Hall of Science.

A startlingly bright orange Sally Lightfoot crab on black shore rocks and the giant head of an ages-old tortoise are among the 53 images that catch the eyes of children who view Gordon’s works.

Her visual presentation celebrates images of life on the Galapagos Islands of EspaƱola, located on the equator 600 miles west of Ecuador.

Over the winter and spring breaks, local children can view vivid images of blue-footed boobies, the volcanic landscape on Bartholomew Island and green sea turtles, while learning about the animals and the environments they live in.

“This is my second career, but it’s my first love,” Gordon said of her photography.

Gordon, 62, of Bay Shore, picked up a camera and started shooting seriously in 1995 when she retired after 20 years of teaching middle and high school students.

“It’s like, ‘Oh my God. This is what came out of my camera?’ It’s almost like it came out of my stomach,” said the photographer.

She has since ventured to many distant lands to photograph wildlife, including Easter Island, the Falkland Islands, New Zealand and Antarctica.

Gordon used 35-mm. film to shoot the photographs in her Galapagos exhibit during two trips to eight of the group’s 20 islands between 1999 and 2001.

“The terrain is so alien, it’s like nothing we’re familiar with,” said Gordon, whose pictures are accompanied by fact-filled descriptions.

The museum invited her to showcase her photos through March 27. It is Gordon’s second exhibit at the hall.

“They’re nice. I like this one,” third-grader Sara Anderson, 8, of Bayside said recently as she pointed at a picture of a Galapagos tortoise. “I’ve seen a turtle in a magazine before, but this one’s huge.”

Dr. Alan Friedman, director of the hall, said that since the recent opening of renovated and expanded sections of the museum, visits have doubled. Gordon’s exhibit has been well-received, he added.

“We think these photographs are breathtaking,” said Friedman. “What we like best is when a kid looks at something and says, ‘Look at this,’ trying to discover something interesting. The kids start to point and ask questions. The images begin to invoke in children, ‘How does this relate to me?'”

Ethel Swanchak and her daughter, Joan, visited the Galapagos Islands five years ago – and were able to revisit the exotic landscape through Gordon’s photographs.

“We saw this advertised and that is why we came, so now we’ll walk through the whole museum,” said Swanchak, of Bayside. “She did a magnificent job, and it’s a perfect place for pictures.”

Gordon said she wishes she could share her photos with nature enthusiasts beyond the museum’s walls.

“I would love to find a sponsor or an exhibition marketing organization to manage me,” said Gordon.

“I would like for it to travel through the world, so other people can experience other parts of the planet.”

Photographer brings Galapagos to life

by Warren Woodberry Jr. on April 21, 2004New York Daily News

New York Daily News 4-21-04

“Galapagos Face to Face: The Photography of Holly Gordon” will be presented by the Rockaway Artists Alliance starting May 1. It is the traveling exhibition’s first visit to the metro area.

The photo display will be at the sTudio 6 Gallery in the Rockaway Center for the Arts at Fort Tilden, Gateway National Recreation Area.

Gordon’s collection includes images of a sea lion, marine iguana and a sally light foot crab, all native to the Galapagos Islands in the south Pacific.

Gordon, a naturalist as well as a seasoned photographer, has traveled to the Falkland Islands, Antarctica and Costa Rica, where she has photographed butterflies.

“More than any place on Earth, I am visually and emotionally overwhelmed by the Galapagos Islands,” said Gordon.