Bob Kelterborn is an expert at finding the extraordinary in the mundane. The local photographer makes it his mission to seek out locations that make for unique and unexpected images.
And unlike the typical subjects — sweeping marsh scenes and area wildlife — Kelterborn finds inspiration and beauty in broken street signs or run-down buildings.
The interest developed when he was a child, looking out the car window as his family took trips.
“It’s something I’ve been doing since I was a little boy. I’ve always had a fascination with trying to spot something unusual, you know the Elvis next to a giant chicken in Warner Robins,” he said.
Kelterborn honed his photography skills throughout high school, growing up in Garden City, N.J. He went on to study photographic science and technology and received degrees from State University of New York and Rochester Institute of Technology.
He didn’t make photography his career, however, instead focusing on work in the print industry.
But, on the side, he kept his camera close. He started snapping Southern imagery when he traveled to the region for work.
His work and unconventional subject matter has gained accolades from a number of photography groups.
He is currently an associate member of the South Street Photography Group of Atlanta, an artist member of Glynn Visual Arts and member of the Coastal Photographers Guild.
Within the guild, his style has drawn interest and sparked inspiration, helping others think outside the proverbial box.
“I really like anything that’s just different what we typically see. Some things I do are abandoned but that gets to be a little cliché,” he said.
“But when I speak different people, even people within photography groups, they say it helps them to start looking around and taking pictures of things that aren’t just white birds.”
While there is certainly nothing wrong with traditional nature photography, finding beauty in the gritty also has an appeal.
Kelterborn has taken up the call to document the back roads and hidden gems of Georgia, which became a particular area of focus after he moved to the state.
For many, these photos depict things they see on their daily drives but Kelterborn seeks to portray them in a new light.
“Driving back from Atlanta, I try to find every back road and I look for things that are unusual. It’s always fascinating,” he said. “I want to take things that people see every day but don’t really look at and show them in a different way.”
And it’s those images that will take front and center at Kelterborn’s latest exhibit.
Aptly titled “The Roads Less Traveled,” the 30 photographs in this show are representative of his 50 years of experience as an amateur photographer. The subjects are of the less noticed scenes along the back roads depicting the local vernacular. They are primarily from the South with Glynn County featured heavily.
The exhibit, which will open with a reception at 5 p.m. today, 529 Beachview Drive, St. Simons Island. It will be available for viewing through Feb. 18. It is sponsored by the Coastal Georgia Photographers’ Guild.
Kelterborn hopes that his viewers will gain a new appreciation for things that may seem outside of the realm of typical photography.
“You have to have the right type of vision for it and it is really about finding something that no body or very few people can see at first,” he said. “Then when they see it, they’re like ‘oh wow that’s a different way of looking at it.’”