NIAGARA FALLS — Niagara Gazette photographer James Neiss may have a photojournalism career spanning some 26 years, but he’s always kept in touch with his more artistic roots.
So while he may spend his days criss-crossing Niagara County snapping photographs of car accidents, house fires and town meetings, there are other sights that stop this veteran news photographer in his tracks, like a kitty climbing a window or a particularly captivating rainbow.
Evidence of that appreciation for the more artistic — and humorous — part of life will be on display at Neiss’ first solo exhibit Tuesday through fall 2014 at The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls. The show, “Roaming the Niagara Frontier,” features upwards of 40 photographs Neiss has taken over the past two decades or so.
“This show is a combination of Niagara Gazette news photography, my art passion and some commercial photography that I do on a freelance basis,” he said. “Most people see my work as a photojournalist in the newspaper but I went to college (at Alfred State) and studied art photography, which was my first passion. You get to see some of that fun stuff here.”
Neiss said he hopes viewers will get a sense of the humor he likes to funnel into his work. Some works — like one of a dog tugging on a toddler’s pants and another of a solitary cow standing on a hillside — may, for obvious reasons put a smile on the viewer’s face.
Others get a helping hand with a humorous title, like a photo of a bunch of manikins in a shop window next to a poster of the 1997 movie “Titanic,” titled “Looking for a love story of her very own.”
“When I saw that picture in Lockport it just struck me that it was a really cool, natural composition. There was another story going on inside with the ‘Titanic’ poster, the love story there. So that title just jumped into my head,” Neiss said. “What I like is for people to smile. I enjoy a good little chuckle.”