He's accustomed to writing about exhibits and artist's talks at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum. But on Feb. 8, Hans Madsen will see it all from a different perspective.
Madsen, an award-winning photojournalist for The Messenger, will be giving an artist's talk at the opening reception for his one-man photographic exhibit, "Iowa Blues."
"I've never had a one-person show before," Madsen said, describing the show's evolution as "a happy accident."
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Hans Madsen holds framed versions of two of the images that are part of his upcoming exhibit, “Iowa Blues,” at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum. The show opens at 3 p.m. Feb. 8 with an artist’s talk and reception.
Madsen said he had initially printed some images for a group exhibit.
"I've always wanted (Museum Director Margaret Skove's) feedback on my personal work," he said. "So, I dropped off a disk."
He said Skove emailed back a few days later, offering available dates for an exhibit and asking what would work for him.
"I wasn't asking for a show," he said, but gratefully accepted the opportunity. He admitted, however, the idea of giving an artist's talk makes him a bit uncomfortable.
"I don't usually wax poetic about my work," he said.
"Iowa Blues," he said, "is a name I came up with when I first started collecting images when I moved here in 2005."
It reflected his feelings about getting used to a new community and a slightly different culture than in Faribault, Minn., where he had previously worked. The move, Madsen said, "gave me the blues."
"Even though it's only a couple hundred miles difference between here and Faribault, there's a culture gap," he said. But he added, "people in Iowa are much nicer."
Still, coming in from the outside eight years ago, Madsen - who has since married a Dayton woman and settled into the area - said everything he saw in his then-new community "seemed a bit broken, cracked, it had a slightly run down feeling to it.
"Fort Dodge has made great strides improving the community since then," Madsen said.
The images in the exhibit "reflect the feeling of walking into a place or a situation and going, something's is not right here; it's off-kilter, and I can't explain it," he said.
Although the majority of Madsen's newspaper photos appear in color, none of the images in the exhibit will appear that way.
"Black and white has a graphic ability to tell a story that color can never equal," he said. "It breaks things down into their basic forms."