While other soldiers practiced shooting guns in Vietnam, one young man taught himself to shoot photos during his time at war.
“Decades,” a photography exhibit by Rick Nye, will be on display through Aug. 25 in the Eccles Gallery at the Covey Center in Provo. The exhibit is open Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.
The name “Decades” was chosen because the collection represents years of Nye’s photography. Some of the oldest photos were taken during Nye’s service with the army in Vietnam.
“I didn’t really know a thing about cameras when I went over there,” Nye said. “I bought a cheap camera and read the instructions to understand how cameras and lenses work. It wasn’t my job, but when I could I would photograph things that were going on that meant something to me.”
Nye received both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam. He returned with military honors and meaningful photographs that sparked his interest in photography. He went on to earn his master’s degree in BYU’s Visual Arts Department and taught photography there for 10 years. After teaching, he opened Rick Nye Photography, a full service photography studio in Orem.
Over the years, Nye has been nationally recognized for much of his work, according to a news release.
Deann Morin, gallery coordinator at the Covey Center, said Rick Nye’s photographs were selected for the exhibit by a gallery committee at the Covey Center.
“We sent out a call for submissions last year,” Morin said. “Thirty people applied and the committee voted on their favorites until we had 12. Then we scheduled the 12 exhibits that will run through 2012.”
The Covey Center will release another call for submissions in September 2012.
Some photos in the “Decades” exhibit are new and some have been digitized from color negative film and transparency film taken up to two decades ago. They include photos from Vietnam as well as Utah landscapes and photography from California and Colorado. All of the photos are canvas gallery wrapped in order to show Nye’s application of brush strokes to further enhance the photos.
To Rick Nye, each photograph is meaningful, especially those captured decades ago in Vietnam.
“That photo summarizes my feelings of that whole year: the texture, the smell, the feel, the dirt and especially the suffering that everyone experienced,” Nye said of one of his shots from that time period.