“Pictures of Poets,” a series of 12 large-scale photographic portraits by photographer Dean Davis, will be on exhibit March 21 through April 14 in the Burgin Center for the Arts’ Cofrin Gallery. An artist reception will be held on Friday, April 5, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Cofrin Gallery.
The portraits, a selection of poets from around the Pacific Northwest and beyond, are paired with audio recordings recorded by Davis and available to listen to at picturesofpoets.com
. Davis gifted the collection of portraits to his nephew (Colby Walker ’19) and his graduating class.
Davis is the half-brother of Mercersburg faculty member and history teacher Dan Walker; Davis learned of his link with the Walkers last summer by chance through a 23andMe DNA test.
“The words used to describe how I felt when I found the connection (a son of Walker) to my biological father have not yet been invented,” Davis said. “I cried — after 35 years of searching, I had nearly given up hope of finding him, and for whatever reason, I hadn’t ever conceived of the notion that he would have had other children, that I would have other siblings. It was a flood of emotions that can’t be easily encapsulated.”
Davis’ first trip to Mercersburg, just under two years ago, was to meet his dad and some of the rest of his family for the first time.
“I was eager to get to know them and for them to get to know me,” Davis said. “It was heartwarming to be received with open arms into the larger Mercersburg Academy family during that first trip as well.”
Davis’ visit this weekend will be his sixth trip back east to visit his new family and his second trip to Mercersburg. A Seattle-based commercial and art photographer born in Wurzburg, Germany, to a military family, Davis spent seven years in the U.S. Army as a young adult, his last four as a Dutch translator in Europe.
Davis began his photography business in 1997. He is a past president of the American Advertising Federation, a former board member of the Spokane Regional MARCOM, and is the current chair of the Spokane [Wash.] Arts Commission and a board member of the Spokane Arts Fund.
Davis’ most recent show, a seven-month exhibit at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, was titled “The Artist’s Palette—Through the Lens of Dean Davis.”
While on campus this week, Davis will work with Kristen Pixler’s photography class as well as one of Mercersburg’s English classes. The Cofrin Gallery is open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 1 p.m.–6 p.m.; or by appointment (call 717-328-6206).
“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share my work, albeit my personal work, with them and the rest of the campus,” Davis said. “I was in high school when I had my first real exposure to photography, and it gives me great pleasure to share my career experience with today’s high school students and encourage them to discover their own passions and pursue them.”