Beach Museum unveils new photography exhibit

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The Tom Mohr exhibit, Kansas Veterinarian at Work: A Portrait, shows the life of veterinarian Dr. Lee Penner and his travels through family farms in Kansas. The exhibit runs Feb. 7-June 17, 2017 at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art. (Photo by Nick Horvath | The Collegian)

Comprised of a series of photographs taken over the span of a decade, photographer Tom Mohr captures the true nature of being a veterinarian in a rural community by chronicling the activities of veterinarian Lee Penner as he travels arounds the Flint Hills practicing his craft. The exhibit can be seen in the Beach Museum of Art on the Kansas State campus.

Utilizing a style that blends multiple exposures into one seamless photograph, Mohr creates long photographic tapestries to illustrate the connections and bonds that can be witnessed between humans and animals.

K-State graduates Mohr and Penner met at K-State in the late 1960s, and quickly became friends over their mutual love for the university; however, it was not until much later that their friendship came to life.

Lost and left aching by the events of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that ruined their New York City apartment, Mohr and his wife began a journey of self-discovery and reflection. Through embarking on a cross-country journey, they found that raw photography became a way for them to cope and heal from the loss and trauma they had experienced.

When he returned to Kansas, Mohr quickly became reacquainted with Penner and it became Mohr’s mission to capture the dedication and authenticity behind rural farm life.

“Beyond taking the photographs, it was just great fun traveling around Kansas in a van and meeting all of (Penner’s) clients,” Mohr said.

As the exhibit features images of what a veterinarian does on a daily basis, sometimes in graphic detail, the public’s response to the exhibit was varied.

“It’s been a mixture of awe and shock because some people are experienced with the ‘real’ part of Kansas, while others may not have been exposed to the more rural parts of America before,” Karley Mishler, junior in human ecology and a representative of the Beach Museum of Art, said.

Makaila Gay, sophomore in social work, said she appreciates the realism the exhibit showcases.

“My favorite part about the exhibit is the realism,” Gay said. “I like how it depicts life how we see it and how nothing is covered up or doctored. It’s all just very raw and leaves little room for interpretation, which allows you to absorb the content more.”

The exhibit will be on display at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art until June 17, 2017.

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