Leesburg Exhibit: Local Photographer Captures Loudoun
The display in downtown Leesburg until June offers familiar Loudoun scenes spanning decades.
As Loudoun County continues a slow transition from a rural escape for Washington, DC’s wealthy and politically connected to a suburban economic engine soon to be accessible via rail, the landscape has clearly changed. Much of the county's rustic flavor has been forever preserved by various artists.
Since 1990, when photographer Diane Helentjaris moved to Leesburg from the Midwest, she has been shooting pictures around Loudoun—where the population has nearly quadrupled from an estimated 86,129 in 1990 to 325,405 in 2011, according to the U.S. Census.
"It was pretty clear this area was in transition and I set out to capture Loudoun scenes before it changed," she said.
Helentjaris has had a lifelong passion for photography. She started taking pictures at a young age when she learned the art from her father, also a photographer. Now, 21 of her photos are on exhibit at the Leesburg Town Hall until June for all county residents to see.
"The town has been so supportive of my work," Helentjaris said, adding that she hopes the exhibit will encourage people to get out and see more of the county.
Scenes such as Goose Creek Bridge, right off Route 50 between Middleburg and Upperville, are beautiful and easy to visit. Helentjaris has photos of Vestals Gap Road, right behind the Costco in Sterling, where things have changed considerably since 1990. As a frame of reference, the Dulles Town Center was not constructed until August 1999.
Helentjaris attempts to capture the composition of the scene and provide a point of focus in her work.
"I try to compose the picture as I see it, when I take the photo," Helentjaris explained, adding that she prefers taking scenic landscape pictures, rather than photographing people.
She also likes to find scenes that have a fair amount of color in them.
"It’s easy to find lots of green scenes around Loudoun,” she said. “I like to challenge myself to find variety of colors."
The Leesburg Commission on Public Art established the Leesburg Town Exhibit Hall in December 2009 to provide a public venue for local artists’ work. Artists interested in having their work considered for a future exhibit should contact Jeanette Irby, the staff liaison to the Leesburg Commission on Public Art, at 703-737-7175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.