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Small Wonders

Denton photographer’s lens captures “Small Wonders” of Nebraska life

By Christina Case, VOICE News reporter
Article originally published in the May 31, 2007, issue of the VOICE News.

A local photographer’s first-ever exhibit on June 1 will feature scenes from the Denton area. That is, a side of Denton that is barely noticeable and rarely draws the eye. One of the things that David Frye loves most about living in Nebraska is the huge expanse of sky overhead. However, many of his favorite photos are the ones that capture some of the tiniest details of objects that are easy to miss, otherwise.

Having grown up in Pennsylvania, Frye didn’t know what to expect when he moved to the small town of Potter, Nebraska, in 1989. “It was a huge shock to come to a town of 350 people, with things like oil wells and cattle,” he recalled. “One of the things I missed most about Pennsylvania was the abundance of trees.”

As a Lutheran pastor, Frye served in Potter and then in York for awhile, before moving to Lincoln and marrying Anne. The tree thing still bugged him, and they were surprised at how small the lots were around Lincoln. They looked around and eventually found a place northeast of Denton, fifteen acres of rolling land near the Conestoga State Recreation area, about half of it wooded. David has been on leave from the ministry since July 2006, and is spending his time developing his web design business, taking photographs and even writing some poetry–when he is inspired.

“My father is a photographer and my mother is a writer, so those were two big influences in my life,” he said.

Photography and writing have a common thread; Frye is drawn to the little details in life, and he has found that both can show the beauty of those details in an astounding way. “I see my poems like photographs–I frame it, then capture that moment. The poems I’m most pleased with are a kind of verbal or literary photograph.”

As for photography, Frye chooses subjects that seem still and immobile, but are full of life anyway–things like unique tree fungus, designs left by burrowing bugs, or even pieces of old discarded farm machinery. “When you see really good sports photography that captures an athlete arching over the bar or nearly grasping the football, those actions pass in just an instant, but are amazingly graceful. Photos like that freeze a moment in time; mine freeze a detail.”

The beauty of catching an everyday detail is that you can bide your time until the light and the feel is just right. Every day, Frye takes a 45-minute walk with his two labradoodles down the gravel road near his house. “I’ve gotten to see the same little details along the route in different weather, light, and seasons; I find I can take advantage of the more dramatic light during the early morning and evening,” he said.

To take his close-ups, Frye uses a camera with a macro lens, which allows him to take a photo from as close as two to three inches from the subject. The result is essentially a magnified photo. Frye’s exhibit will include fifteen of his close-up pictures enlarged, and he says about 80 percent of the photos were taken around the Denton area. Although it’s his first photo exhibit, Frye says he doesn’t really know what to expect, so he isn’t nervous. “Showing my photos in a real gallery is on my list of 50 things I want to do during my life,” he said. Also on the list? Pottery, archery, and space travel; two of them he has checked off, and the third will just take a little more time.

“In the past I’ve taken photos of stuff that’s interesting to me because it moves me creatively,” Frye said. “I’ve always satisfied the audience of one–myself. I hope that exhibiting my photos will show it can satisfy a larger audience. If it does, we’ll just see where that goes.” His exhibit, Small Wonders, opens on June 1 in front of a whole new audience, and Frye anticipates seeing the reaction from his friends and everyone else. “My hope is that people will leave with an appreciation of how beautiful something can be when you focus on it; that there’s beauty in things you walk by and don’t pay attention to,” he said.

Frye’s two dogs often find themselves the subjects of some of his photos, as do his family members, including wife Anne, son Benjamin, of Lindsborg, Kansas, and stepdaughter Tara, of Portland, Oregon. Even complete strangers are not immune from the click of his shutter, if they are a good study of the interesting details of human nature.

David Frye will be on hand for the reception from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 1, and Small Wonders will be open during the month of June at W Hair Studio, 141 South 9th Street in Lincoln. For more information, visit Frye’s website at

Frye has also been given the go-ahead to exhibit his photography at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church north of Firth this fall, during its 30th anniversary celebration. “Rejoice in the Lord’s Works” will be open from August 1 to September 16, featuring photography and meditations on God’s creative handiwork.

In his introduction to Small Wonders, Frye describes the unique place his creative drive carries him. “Like most everyone, I am awestruck by and grateful for the splendor of a brilliant sunset or the grandeur of a towering storm cloud. But I find my distinctive perspective in shining my own dim creative light upon the details I see in the greater world around me.”

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