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Exhibit catches memorable ports of call

There are some decidedly non-port pictures in Bob Jauch's first photography exhibit, "Port of Call" -- a pair of male lions lying side-by-side, a cheetah with glowing eyes, the South Dakota badlands in stark black and white, the Aurora Borealis s...

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The Northern Lights are captured over Poplar in this photograph by former state senator Bob Jauch. An exhibit of Jauch’s work, “Port of Call,” opens Wednesday at Red Mug Coffeehouse. Submitted photo

There are some decidedly non-port pictures in Bob Jauch's first photography exhibit, "Port of Call" - a pair of male lions lying side-by-side, a cheetah with glowing eyes, the South Dakota badlands in stark black and white, the Aurora Borealis stretching over Poplar. The show, which opens Wednesday at Red Mug Coffeehouse, 916 Hammond Ave., isn't focused on boats and physical ports, although they do make appearances.

"A port of call is a place where you stop for a short time, especially on a journey," Jauch said. In this exhibit, the journey is life, and each photograph displayed is a moment in his.

"Wherever we're at is our port of call," he said.

The retired state senator from the village of Poplar had plenty of pieces to consider. He's been taking photographs for decades, a healthy distraction amidst the stress of the increasingly partisan Legislature. In winnowing the field down to about 30, he looked behind the captured beauty.

"The challenge is not to put up pictures, but to put up photos with a story," Jauch said, ones that provide viewers with more than enjoyment. "A good photograph should have some meaning to people."

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Friday, he leafed through pictures and pulled out one of a Japanese girl in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

"That was taken the day before George W. Bush began to bomb Iraq in 1991," Jauch said. "At a time when our nation was on the verge of war, I was in a city damaged by war. That nameless girl has an impact on my life. I think about her all the time."

Like his exhibit selections, the photograph conveys something universal.

"This little girl is our family, too," Jauch said. "This moon shines on all of us."

The Poplar man has found himself stopping on a dime to photograph an eye-catching tree, a moment in time. He's caught an unexpected meteor streaking through a shot of the northern lights.

"That's a good story for life," Jauch said. "If you have the opportunity, pull over and take it in."

He's also learned to be patient. One photo in the exhibit displays a tall ship with a ghostly moon behind it. Jauch waited down at the Duluth waterfront for more than an hour for the perfect moment.

"Night photography has been eye-opening and soul-enriching for me," Jauch said. "I've spent hours at night waiting for the Northern Lights, the Milky Way, listening to the sounds."

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The end result is food for the soul.

"When I end up with a great photo, I end up with a great feeling," Jauch said.

Red Mug owner Suzanne Johnson said the retired senator's show has been on the calendar for about a year.

"He's got a really good eye, and he's obviously put a lot of time into it," Johnson said.

Jauch's photo cards can be purchased at the coffeehouse as well as Poplar Hardware and the gas station in Poplar. They sell well.

"People really like his work," Johnson said.

Jauch said he enjoys visiting Red Mug.

"I come here as regularly as I can," Jauch said. "I love the place for the people who come here."

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He's also been impressed by the constant flow of artwork at the establishment. He pointed out a recent art show at Red Mug that netted $1,200 for Superior High School art field trips.

"I'm grateful to Suzanne for giving me the opportunity," Jauch said. "She's a strong supporter of arts in the community."

Although he's captured moments around the world, local spots like the Twin Ports harbors and the mouth of the Amnicon River draw Jauch back. The Northland is one of his favorite ports of call.

"We all need to set our sails and go somewhere, but there's no place like home," he said.

"Port of Call" opens Wednesday with a reception from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Jauch is expected to speak. The photographs will be available for viewing and purchase during regular hours of operation - 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday - through Nov. 30.

Related Topics: DOUGLAS COUNTY
Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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