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2020 SPE Annual Conference: Hosted by The University of Houston | Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts | School of Art

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Paul Wegner

SPE Member since 2009
Member Chapter: Midwest

Avon Hills

I am a photographer who makes portraits of people and places. My work displays quiet humanity and directness. It focuses on the subtle rather than the sensational. I attempt to present portraits that are descriptive and personal.

I draw on the work of modernist masters such as August Sander who often presented subjects frontally posed while identifying their role in German society, and Walker Evans who used the term "Lyric Documentary" to acknowledge both the objective and intuitive sides of photographing for his work in the American South. As contemporary portrait photography displays many of its subjects with blank expressionless stares I strive to emphasize the presence of humanity in a subtle, but visible manner. My subjects acknowledge the presence of the camera, but they are not solely defined by it.

In my current body of work I have returned to the Avon Hills area of central Minnesota after moving away 20 years ago. My work examines this rural area that is home to artists, tradespeople, farmers, academics, and others who are active and engaged community members. The landscape of Avon Hills reveals the geological markings of a glacial age, and exists now as varied ecosystems from marshland, to woodland, and prairie. Those who live here have a close relationship to the land as farmers, beekeepers, arborists, and harvesters of maple syrup. Residents of this area enrich the place where they live by their pursuits. My portraits seek to introduce members of the Avon Hills community to the viewer and describe the land where they live and work.

Anne Meyer, Potter

Conrad Legatt, Beekeeper

Mariannne and Leroy Gondringer, Farmers

Reeds & Plowed Field

Jim and Mary DiGiovanni

Paul and Larry Huls, Owners of Huls' Nursery

Sister Phyllis Plattenberg, OSB, Founder of Common Ground Community Garden

Kate Ritger, Director of Common Ground Community Garden

Steve Nelson, Master Baker, Collegeville Artisan Bakery

Upper and Lower Spunk Creek

Fr. Finton Bromenschenkel, OSM, "The Woodcutting Monk"

Burnouts and Shells, Tower Road


Joe Straley, Windmill Expert

Mary Bruno, Printmaker, Bruno Press

Bill and Mabella Kelly, Owners, Avon Auto

Thomas Kroll, Abby Land Manager, St. John's Abby

Woodpile, Bird, and Birdhouse

Alfred and Mary Schwalby, Retired Farmers

Wedding Bell and Ballroom

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