SIERRA VISTA — “The most beautiful place in the world is right there, where you are.”
So says Sean Yeterian, known as the “Arizonan Yeti” on Facebook. Yeterian hopes to share his philosophy of photography with the community at his 7 p.m. presentation Friday, Aug. 20, at Cochise College’s Sierra Vista Campus in the Library Commons. Yeterian said admission is free.
“There’s so many ways that photography can touch us at a deeper level, and I want to communicate that,” said Yeterian.
Yeterian has an exhibit — titled “Spirit of Cochise” — of eight of his photographs at the Library Commons. His landscape pieces will be on display until Oct. 8.
JenMarie Zeleznak, art instructor at Cochise College and curator of the artwork in the library commons, said Yeterian’s work was chosen because of his skill of capturing the Arizona landscape.
“He made me fall in love with Arizona even before I moved here in August 2019 for my position at the College,” said Zeleznak in an email. “His work is visually strong and has a solid graphic impact and I knew if he would agree to making larger scale prints of his work it would look stunning in the Library Commons.”
Yeterian said seven of the eight photographs were taken in Cochise County.
“What I try and capture with my photographs ... is the idea that no matter where I happen to be standing, there is something that is going to be beautiful and I just had to learn how to view that element,” said Yeterian.
Photography is a recent love for Yeterian, who graduated from Cochise College with an associate of arts in media production arts in 2018.
As a former Army sergeant major, Yeterian said he was drawn to pursue photography at Cochise College after retiring from the Army after 28 years of service.
“I visited a friend once here while I was stationed in El Paso through the sergeant-major academy,” said Yeterian. “I fell in love with the place.”
Yeterian said he returned to the area when he was stationed at Fort Huachuca for the last eight months of his military career.
After diving into his bucket list of interests and not finding one that stood out, Yeterian turned to photography and enrolled at the college in 2016.
“Cochise College was right here, and the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) was going to pay for it and they did,” said Yeterian. “And so why not, right? It was a no-brainer for me ...
“When I walked into my digital photography class, taught by Ed Honda at the time, I came in with a little Canon point and shoot. It wasn’t any bigger than my wallet. And I looked around the classroom and I saw all of these students walking around with these big ‘chalk blocks’ around their necks ...
“Well, it’s too embarrassing to be the only one in class with this little wallet-sized camera, so I went and got myself a Canon Rebel T5 — it was a starter camera with two lenses — and I have never looked back since.
“That (photography) bug bit me very, very hard. The camera just felt natural in my hand, where I pointed it, everything just seemed to pop for me. That’s pretty much why this event is significant for me, this Friday night and this exhibit for the next two months, because it is a full-circle thing. Where it all got started is where my first exhibit is going to be.”
Zeleznak said she looks to feature artists who are inspirational and who can work in a large scale with the layout of the common area.
“In my selection of artists I look for certain factors — particularly scale and graphic impact,” she said. “Artists selected for displaying work in the Commons do not have to have any affiliation to the college, but it is nice when they do.
“I am always looking for artists to showcase, but as of right now, because of the current hanging system, works need to be in the medium-to-large range to be displayed most effectively in the space.”
Zeleznak said artists like Yeterian can display their artwork at the college without any fee or commission.
She said that the college supports local artists as a way to connect the community.
“Displaying local artists’ works and having them interact with students, whether through an artist talk/presentation or classroom/studio interaction, enriches our students’ learning experiences and exposure to art,” said Zeleznak.
Those interested in displaying their work at Cochise College’s Sierra Vista Campus can contact Zeleznak via email at email@example.com.