If you go
› What: Opening reception for Ron Lowery’s “Southern Charm.”
› When: 5-8 p.m. Friday, March 1. Exhibition continues through March 30. Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
› Where: In-Town Gallery, 26A Frazier Ave.
› Phone: 423-267-9214.
Chattanooga photographer Ron Lowery may be best known for his aerial photography, but his latest exhibition will offer some of the images he's seen from the back of a motorcycle over the years.
"Southern Charm," on view in March at In-Town Gallery, features his explorations of back-country roads around the South and ghost towns in the West. An opening reception is scheduled Friday evening at the gallery.
"In days of the Old West," he says, "men carried their carbine in a scabbard attached to the saddle. I designed a scabbard for my bike to carry my tripod, and my 'saddlebag' was a special camera bag on the gas tank for my camera and four lenses."
Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in northern Virginia, Lowery became interested in photography at age 16. What started as a hobby soon turned into a passion and then a profession.
"Unlike an artist with brush and canvas who can add or subtract elements of a scene," he says, "what I see through the viewfinder becomes the final word."
In 1978 Lowery opened a studio in Chattanooga to serve clients' needs in photojournalism, underwater and aerial photography. Over the years, he has won numerous awards for his work and has shown at many prestigious venues. His most recent was a display of aerial photography at the Nashville Airport. Lowery also has published two successful coffee-table books, "Chasing Lewis & Clark Across America: A 21st Century Aviation Adventure" and "Tennessee River: Sparkling Gem of the South."
The In-Town show includes such images as "Two-Toning by Mother Nature," which captures an old, rusting International truck, weathered and sun-faded, forgotten in a field. The whimsically named "Apartment With a View" is an evocative scene of purple martin gourds on a pole, photographed on the Callaway farm in Ringgold, Georgia.
"When I met Mark Callaway, the farm's owner," says Lowery, "he shared with me some of the history of his land. In the 1830s, the Cherokees were forced to leave as part of the Trail of Tears. During the Civil War, the summer homes built by the Warner Park family were converted to an Army hospital. Down in the cellar are cement footings inscribed with the names of children and dated 1897. Today there are about 200 of Callaway's family members living up and down the valley."
Such links with the region's history lie at the heart of Lowery's photo essay.
"It's not what you look at that matters," Lowery says. "It's what you see. And I see a landscape filled with things disappearing at an alarming rate. But I also see a lot of history in these photographs. Each one has a story."