An art exhibit in downtown will display portraits of soldiers that participated in the World War II reenactments. The photographer has visited the event for the last three years and will share the black and white renditions of those he has captured.
Rick Rembisz’s exhibit, “Both Sides” consists of 20 portraits of soldiers and other military personnel. This series of tight shots display the conflicts both sides encountered.
Rembisz practices a cross between photojournalism and street photography. Usually, the subjects in his work are strangers at first, but he’ll introduce himself to them after something catches his eye.
“When it comes to my photographs, I really enjoy the person I photographed to see the picture so they can see what I was thinking of when I took the picture. That’s always fun for me to do, sharing my particular vision,” Rembisz said.
“Both Sides” has been displayed at Texas Tech and at other exhibits but now, Rembisz gets to share his work with the audience that matters most to him; the people in the photos.
He said, “Year after year when I go to these things, I see familiar faces, it’s just these people I’ve taken pictures of, for most, I don’t think they’ve seen them. This is my way of getting this work to Waxahachie, during that weekend, very close to the activity.”
Before the reenactment, Rembisz said he thought he was pretty knowledgeable of the war’s history. But after seeing the communications of each side and them setting up camp, allowed him to broaden his education.
“I was really surprised by talking to both sides and to have this event actually divided up by them and the allies. They are on two separate sides of the park. I took both sides image-wise, and it really brought into focus the hardships that both sides were facing. Conflict,” Rembisz said.
Typically, Rembisz uses wide angles and short lenses which means he has to get close and personal with the person he’s photographing. He said he would find a character, approach them and get to know them on a personal level. Once the military personnel went back into character, he’d capture their personality.
“I started taking pictures, and I couldn’t quit. So many interesting things going on and so many interesting people it was just like a very easy event to take pictures of,” Rembisz said.
He said when the photos are looked at in color, the people look like average people: a lawyer or a student in college, but once the pictures are transformed, into black and white, they look like real soldiers.
“If you look at these pictures in color, they don’t look interesting to me. With these pictures, it’s their nature. Changing them from color to black and white was a trip. It just popped them into a different reality for me,” Rembisz explained.
Through this experience, he’s understood that art is difficult to plan out. He’s converted color photos to black and white before, but he said these were substantially shocking enough to look at them and go “wow, that’s a different image.”
“Both Sides” is on display at the Waxahachie Parks and Recreation Building, located at 401 S. Elm St. The pop-up exhibit is free and open to the public from Nov. 10 – 12.