Corfman photo exhibit showcases history, mysteryWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
When Toledo photographer Molly Corfman backpacked through Europe for a month, she packed light and let the journey take her, documenting her trip through five countries.
“I saw the places that had fascinated me since I was a child,” Corfman said, including Pompeii, Stonehenge and the catacombs in Paris. “There’s so much mystery and excitement and fascination and history. I wanted to learn more about the world around me, how big or small it really is, and about cultures outside of myself.”
In Greece, she connected with a man at a bus stop despite not sharing a language.
“We had this kind of silent communication,” Corfman said. “Even though we couldn’t understand each other, I felt an interconnectedness with humanity and the world around me.”
Corfman’s photographic journey, “Travels Through Europe,” will be on display and for sale at the Downtown Latté, 44. S. St. Clair St., from Jan. 3-29. An opening reception is set for noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 8. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
The 33-year-old Perrysburg grad visited England, Greece, Italy, France and Switzerland, spending several days in every major city.
One of her favorite experiences was riding a mule up Santorini Island in Greece.
“It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been,” Corfman said. “It’s all whitewashed. The sea is clear blue and you can see straight down through.”
Corfman, whose work has been published nationally and internationally, has worked locally for The Blade and Bowling Green’s Sentinel-Tribune. She now works as a Web designer.
Corfman said she captures whatever catches her eye.
“Composition just happens naturally for me; at this point it’s not something I think about,” Corfman said.
She doesn’t manipulate her images or change the scene in any way.
“What you see in my photographs is what I saw; nothing is faked or doctored,” Corfman said.
Using her years of experience as a photojournalist to get a feel for a situation, Corfman said she sometimes asks people if she can photograph them, but other times just snaps a shot.
“I like to get the subject involved with the photo. It is about them. It is their story,” Corfman said.
Corfman had her share of misadventures on the trip as well.
One of her two cameras was stolen by a subway pickpocket in Rome on the way to Vatican City, where she was blessed by the Pope.
“It was just gone,” Corfman said. “But I didn’t want to let it ruin my trip. I had my moment, got over it and kept going.”
Later that day her second camera fell off a table, breaking the screen. She also experienced a transit strike in Italy and got stuck overnight on a docked ferryboat in Greece, missing her flight back to the U.S.
Corfman also recalled what felt like a close call during a gondola ride in Venice.
“The driver probably had control, but it felt like I was going to capsize,” Corfman said. “I screamed and the driver asked ‘Can you swim?’ which didn’t reassure me any more. But then it settled. Venice is all islands, and you realize that, but then when you’re there, you realize there’s no cars. And it’s just surreal.”
Downtown Latté co-owner Ron Novak said the coffeehouse rotates artwork each month. He said he likes Corf-man’s photos because they are familiar images that people can relate to, but from a unique perspective, such as Paris from the point of view of a Notre Dame gargoyle.
“I want people to have their own experience and reflect upon their own travels through my photographs,” Corfman said. “I hope they can better understand their own journeys. In the end we are our experiences. That’s ultimately what we have in life.”
For more information, visit www.photo.mollycorfman.com.