A Reston Now employee was kicked out of Reston Town Center on Tuesday afternoon for taking photos.
Jay Westcott, a staff photographer for Reston Now and its sister sites Tysons Reporter, ALXnow and ARLnow, was asked by a security guard to leave RTC after he attempted to take several photos outdoors. Westcott has earlier been asked by an editor to update Reston Now’s file photos, which we use to illustrate stories about everything from new office tenants to events and other happenings.
Westcott had just paid for parking and begun taking photos of a landscaping crew when he was approached by a security guard.
Boston Properties, the Massachusetts-based company that owns RTC, says that any media, photographer or videographer must seek a permit — processed through RTC’s marketing — each time they want to take photos in the center.
The permit application notes that all photos must be approved by RTC prior to publication and “are available for licensing by Reston Town Center management for use in Reston Town Center publications.”
‘This is not a new policy. Some brands have policies in place regarding professional photography so we normally escort media on site,” said Ashley Arias, director of TAA Public Relations, Boston Properties’ PR agency.
The application also stipulates that storefronts, loading docks, and building entrances cannot be photographed without written permission.
Reston Now owner and publisher Scott Brodbeck said that although RTC is privately owned, it is a de facto public space.
“Jay is a consummate professional who was simply updating our stock photos of the area. Credentialed members of the media should not be required to obtain permits in order to do their jobs in such a setting,” Brodbeck said. “That’s doubly true given that any member of the general public is able to take such photos with their smartphones without being hassled by security.”
Some local photographers say that although the permit process is cumbersome, RTC’s marketing team is forthcoming and welcoming.
“I just keep a copy of the PDF on my phone, and any time a security guard requests a permit, I show them my phone, they take a quick glance at it, and let me carry on,” Reston-based photographer Charlotte Geary told Reston Now.
Boston Properties’ photography policy highlights some elected officials’ concerns about the privatization of publicly used spaces.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said that the photography restriction in open areas of RTC underscores the fact that open areas in RTC are not public open spaces and rather “private property accessible and usable by the public with conditions established by the private property owner.”
He says his task force, which is reviewing Reston’s Comprehensive Plan, is taking a look at the pros and cons of privately owned and maintained open spaces versus publicly owned and maintained spaces. The topic was discussed at a December meeting.
It’s not the first time the privatization of open space has been an issue in Reston.
In the spring of 2019, Comstock Companies, the developer of Reston Station, clashed with the county over the permissibility of campaigning on its property.
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
A new international art show at Gallery B in Bethesda features work from eight Reston artists.
Organized by local creative co-op Art4Us, the show is entitled “CounterCurrent” and features paintings, sculptures, drawings, photography, and literature from about 30 artists across the globe – a number of which call Reston home.
Antonella Manganelli is the co-curator of the show (along with Grazia Montalto) and she describes the show as “as everything that goes against the current.”
“It’s about challenging yourself, trying a different technique,” she says. “Unfollow the rules, whatever was taught to you. Don’t be afraid to be unconventional.”
She’s also an artist herself and heavily involved in Reston’s art community. Manganelli is a long-time board member at the League of Reston Artists.
Due to her local roots running deep (though, she’s originally from Italy) is why many Reston-based artists sent in submissions to the open call.
Artists also from France, Canada, and Brazil also provided work for the show.
CounterCurrent is also being juried, with awards being given for visual arts and literature excellence.
The literature awards are being judged by Mike Maggio, former Northern Regional Vice-President of the Poetry Society of Virginia.
Manganelli’s work is also in the show and she says that she took it as a challenge to try unfamiliar techniques.
“I’m a surrealist and like to create different meanings in my paintings,” she says.
CounterCurrent was also reviewed earlier this month in the Washington Post, which called the show “as sprawling and diverse a show as the compact Gallery B can contain.”
The show opened on February 4 and closes on the 28th of this month.
Gallery B at 7700 Wisconsin Ave E in Bethesda is open for in-person visits from Wednesday through Saturday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Masks must be worn and the space is limited to ten people at a time.
Manganelli says the idea is for artists to not hold anything back with their work in the show.
“Just speak your mind,” she says. “Be outspoken in anything you think and anything you do.”
Photo courtesy of Antonella Manganelli
For its 10th anniversary, the Arts Herndon calendar competition is providing an opportunity for upcoming photographers to showcase their skills.
Both amateur and professional photographers from around the area are invited to submit photos within the town limits of Herndon that could potentially be used for an upcoming calendar, according to the Arts Herndon website.
“The purpose of this competition is to not only to produce an amazing 2021 calendar from the town, but to offer all photographers, residents and students the opportunity to share their vision and talents and be recognized even in these challenging times,” the website said.
Competition organizers ask that the snapshot of the work encompass town life with an emphasis on beauty and richness of experience.
Anyone interested in submitting a photo can do so by emailing [email protected] until June 12, the website said, adding that each person can submit up to two photos. Along with a brief description, people should name the photo “lastname_firstname_email_Title of Photo.”
Typically, award winners would be invited to a public reception, but due to social distancing guidelines and the closure of ArtSpace, winning submissions will instead be displayed at an online gallery and possibly a walk-by window display in the town, according to Arts Herndon.
Anyone seeking more information can email Arts Herndon.
Photo via Arts Herndon/Mike Madigan
Bird lovers have an opportunity to check out award-winning photography at an upcoming exhibition at the Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive).
The Audubon Photography Awards Traveling Exhibition will run from Feb. 5-26 and give people the chance to view 10 winning photographs, according to an email from the Reston Association.
This year, on the 10th anniversary of the competition, a photo of a Red-Winged Black Bird by Kathrin Swoboda took first place, according to the event page.
“This particular bird was very vociferous, singing long and hard,” Swoboda said. “I looked to set it against the dark background of the forest, shooting to the east as the sun rose over the trees, backlighting the vapor.”
The panel of six judges included photographers and conservation program directors from across the county.
On Sunday (Feb. 9) from 1-3 p.m. the Nature Walker Center will host an open house for the community and on Feb. 21 from 7-9 p.m. there will also be a “Birds on Film” event.
Attendees will have the chance to learn about birds around Reston and from areas where award-winning photos were taken, according to the email.
All ages are welcome to attend this free event.
Photo via Walker Nature Center/Facebook
Photographer Mike Madigan’s photograph of Sugarland Run has won the Town of Herndon’s 10th annual calendar photo competition.
Attendees at a recent ArtSpace Herndon meeting selected the photo as the “people’s choice” winner. The photo, along with other photos submitted by professional and amateur photographers, will be featured in the 2020 Herndon Town Calendar.
Entries for the next year’s competition will be accepted in June. More than 11,000 calendars are printed for distributed to town residents and businesses.
The “people’s choice” award is given to the photograph that best represents Herndon. Special consideration is given to entries that depict people representative of Herndon’s diversity, culture, and seasonal community events.
The competition is produced by ArtSpace and the Town of Herndon.
Photo by Mike Madigan
Finalists’ photographs for a contest have their work on display at ArtSpace Herndon starting today (Feb. 5).
The 10th Annual Fine Art Photography Exhibit features nearly three dozen finalists in the Fine Art Photography Competition.
A sneak peek at the artwork on ArtSpace Herndon’s website and Facebook shows some of the vibrant, colorful and dramatic photographs in the exhibit.
“These photographers show how a group of artists with a range of themes and skills can be brought together to exhibit work ranging from whimsical digital collages to realistic black and white prints to colorful abstract images, into one spectacular exhibit,” according to ArtSpace Herndon’s description of the exhibit.
Photographer Mary Louise Ravese is the competition’s judge. She selected the 45 photographs from more than 180 submissions from 93 professional and amateur photographers in Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and Pennsylvania.
Locals who visit the exhibit will see art by some Reston-area artists. A handful of members of the League of Reston Artists have their work showcased, including Vladimir Grablev, Maureen Costantino and Sandy Gherardi.
Ravese will announce the winners during the free awards reception from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 9) at 750 Center Street.
The exhibit runs until March 2.
Photo via ArtSpace Herndon/Facebook
Updated at 5:30 p.m. — Clarifies the project as part of a series of guides and includes Phoebe Avery.
Charlotte Geary, a local photographer, worked on commission by Public Art Reston to photograph every public art piece for an upcoming guide.
“Finding the artwork was half the fun,” Geary said on her website. “It was like a scavenger hunt around town. Of course I knew the most prominent sculptures, like Mercury Fountain, but some of the other artwork was unfamiliar to me and thrilling to discover.”
Geary provided a glimpse behind the photographs on her blog, like her use of a fisheye lens to capture the curve of the buildings.
Phoebe Avery, who is also contracted for the project, is writing the text. Both Geary and Avery contributed to Public Art Retson’s first “Public Art Tour Series” guide, which highlighted public artworks at Lake Anne Village Center.
The second guide of the series is slated for a release sometime in 2019, Anne Delaney, the executive director of Public Art Reston, told Reston. “The purpose of the series is to create greater awareness about Reston’s public art collection — the community’s cultural assets — available to all at all time and free of charge,” she said in an email.
While some of the artwork is prominent, others are more obscure, like troll sculptures hidden under a bridge and half-concealed in undergrowth.
Photo via Charlotte Geary
This story has been updated
Reston Community Center recently bid a fond farewell to a woman who has been documenting its history for more than three decades.
Staff photographer Linda Rutledge, who had been with RCC since 1981, retired from the position last week. Leila Gordon, RCC’s executive director, said the impact Rutledge has had on the organization over the years has been practically immeasurable.
“We have a massive and fabulous photo archive from RCC’s very earliest years,” Gordon said. “We’ve been very close, and her history with RCC is very much intertwined with the history of this agency, this institution itself.”
Reston Community Center opened in 1979.
“We will be very hard-pressed to replace, and we’ll just have to grow again, Linda’s tremendous knowledge of Reston,” Gordon said. “You didn’t have to give her instructions or a shoot list, or say ‘Be sure that you get so-and-so.’ She just knew, she just absolutely knew where the people she needed to shoot were.”
Rutledge’s ability to capture a moment in a photo, showing the emotion of a situation, was another quality Gordon praised.
“[She could] focus on a spontaneous humanity of a setting, not taking pictures at an event that are just people standing and smiling for the camera,” the executive director said. “Her photographs are beautiful because they show people doing things and engrossed in those things that were part of their RCC experience.”
Gordon said she fully expects that Rutledge will not be able to completely separate herself and her camera from Reston Community Center.
“She loves the Multicultural Festival, and she loves our [Dr. Martin Luther] King celebration events, so there are some things like that I imagine she’ll still want to contribute photographs to,” Gordon said. “There are some things that Linda says she just wouldn’t feel she is alive if she missed.”
Photos courtesy Reston Community Center/Linda Rutledge
The top nine photos of the year were chosen from more than 7,000 submissions to the Audubon Photography Awards by about 1,700 photographers. The exhibit also includes three honorable-mention winners, for a total of 12 photos.
Criteria included technical quality, originality and artistic merit. The photos cover a range of bird species and geographic locations.
An open house for the exhibit is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. Sunday at the nature center, with the photos to be on display until Feb. 14.
Along with the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and Walker Nature Center, Friends of Reston is also co-sponsoring the show. Light refreshments, short bird walks and hands-on bird activities will also be part of the open house.
For more information, call 703-476-9689 or email [email protected].