David Salomon’s love of photographing animals is a far cry from any typical puppy- or housecat-obsessed Instagram user. Only days after returning from China, where he captured the life and essence of pandas through his lens, Salomon held the opening reception of his new gallery, O.R.D.A Gallery (15400 Knoll Trail Drive) Saturday night.
Salomon says his love for photography began when he was 10 years old. “My father bought me a camera that, today, would probably be a museum piece,” he says, while patrons perused the walls covered with his colorful, canvas prints.
But it’s not just his photos that have launched his success. Salomon recently published an extensive encyclopedia, Penguin-Pedia, on all 17 species of penguins — a book, he says, that is the only one of its kind.
“I went to Chile and saw the penguins. I fell in love with them. I put one and one together: ‘You like penguins, and there are 17 penguin species,’” Salomon says. “So I decided to write a photographic encyclopedia about the species of them.”
Salomon says he spent about two and a half years traveling the world to find the penguins, and thanks to that project, there are a number of penguin images on exhibit in his current show.
And in a world where anyone can snap a photo on their phone, throw any one of hundreds of filters on it and upload to social media, Salomon says it’s tricky to stand out in the field of photography.
“I realized you have to have a niche. And I always liked the outside more than the inside,” Salomon says.
For an outdoor photographer, perfect lighting is crucial. “You can’t bring your own sun,” he says. Instead of snapping a photo of the first lion or panda he sees, Salomon says it’s important to wait until the animal settles itself perfectly into frame.
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The modest gallery space, located on the third floor of an office building in Addison, currently houses Salomon’s work, a series titled Journey, along with paintings from various Russian art students he commissioned to recreate his photos as they felt inspired. But Katie Knight, the gallery manager, says they are eager to represent more artists in the future.
“We’re not exactly sure when we’ll add more artists, we just started [this] as an experiment, and it’s worked out pretty well. It’s been wonderful,” Knight says, of the opening reception.
O.R.D.A. Gallery (15400 Knoll Trail Drive, No. 330) officially opens Tuesday. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, or by appointment.