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Lens crafter

Photographer Nicholas Fedak II wins at Brand 36 juried show with his eerie view of the ordinary.

October 20, 2007|By Joyce Rudolph

With a tweak here and a change there Nicholas Fedak II turned an Italian hotel room into a dark secret-filled place and an art show entry into a winner.

Fedak’s photograph “The Secret Dream Chamber” received the Creativity Center for the Arts Inc. Award in memory of Varujan Ughurlyan in Brand Library’s national juried show.

The photo is of a room in the Hotel Danielli in Venice, Italy, but through the 54-year-old Burbank resident’s manipulation it looks more like the living room of a haunted mansion.


The room bends and waves as the viewer’s eye moves from the elegant chandeliers to the massive fireplace and oval-framed painting above the mantle.

“It’s distorted in Photoshop,” said Fedak, who began taking photographs in 1981 while a student at Los Angeles Pierce College and through his continued education at Cal State Northridge. “The main reason is because the original image had a light brown cast to it, so I wanted to change the color. I left the orange light coming from under the door because it reminded me of the film ‘The Shining’ with Jack Nicholson.”

It’s dark and mysterious, said Irena Raulinaitis, chairwoman of the show, which carries the theme “Secrets and Confessions.”

“The picture looks like it has a secret to hide,” she said. “The title is quite apt.”

This year artists from Glendale, Burbank, throughout the state and across the nation entered 650 works all on paper — etchings, photography, drawings, prints, watercolors and mixed media — in the show. Juror Lita Albuquerque chose more than 70 to be in the show.

“She was looking for something different, unusual,” Raulinaitis said.

“She wasn’t looking for a specific technique, but for the aura of the work. And quirky. That’s her word. I think she did a fabulous job. She judged with love and appreciation. And the work is eclectic.”

Awards totaling $4,000 were presented.

The work in the show was really impressive, said Alyssa Resnick, senior library supervisor.

“There are several artists in the exhibition that have more than one piece, and since this is a juried show this really illustrates how strong these works are because Ms. Albuquerque could not pick just one,” she said. “It is also great to see so many local artists who had to compete alongside submissions from across the country.”

Although Fedak has entered the Brand show three or four times, this is the first award he has received in the show, he said. And the honor meant a lot to him because Albuquerque was judging the works, he said.

“I was very excited to win,” he said. “It’s an honor not only to be accepted into the show but win an award because I highly respect her own personal work.”

Fedak has been teaching photography at Pierce College and East Los Angeles College since 1989.

His philosophy in taking photos is straightforward.

“I try to focus on the beauty and decay,” he said.

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