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Robin's world
Work by Andrew Brodhead is part of 'Stay as You Are'

They are what they are

Behind “Stay as You Are” is a tale of family, friends, community, and art. Generations, going off in new directions, staying connected.

The photography show at DeSoto Row features portraits by Andrew Brodhead, Emily Earl and Emily Searle. The three friends have nearly 30 years of photography experience among them, remarkable for a bunch of 22-year-old college seniors.

Earl and Brodhead have been friends since high school at Savannah Arts Academy. The two Emily’s met as assigned dorm roommates their freshman year at SCAD. The following summer, Brodhead came home from his first year at Atlanta College of Art and the trio was formed.

“I started shooting photography when I was four, with my dad,” says Earl. “We took pictures together until I was like ten, then I had to take a break for a while. I kind of always knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

In the 1970’s, Earl’s father John Earl was one of the most sought after nature photographers in the South. Emily’s mother Susan Earl is also a photographer whose style leans more towards portraits and urban images.

“I definitely get my sense of composition and color from my dad,” says Emily Earl, “and I’m pretty aware of that whenever I’m photographing. In the beginning my mom’s work was a good inspiration. It was a good jumping off point.”

As a child, Brodhead tagged along with his mother to workshops at The Blue House collaborative, organized by photographer Susan Patrice. Among the artists he met there was Patrice’s partner, the late Jack Leigh. “I would ask him about his methods of shooting. I would hang out there and meet local artists. Jack Leigh was by far the one that impacted me the most.”

Meanwhile, Searle was shooting pictures as the photo editor of her high school yearbook in Gainesville, Fla. She “burned out” on photography but fell in love with Savannah on a high school trip.

“Stay as You Are” may be the trio’s last time together for a while. Searle is packing up for a move to Brooklyn in September. Earl has designs on graduate school after her final quarter this fall, and Brodhead returns to Atlanta for his senior year, with plans to move to Oregon after graduation.

“I really enjoy collaborating on the show,” says Searle, “because photography is such a solitary art. If there’s anyone I’d want to do this with, it would be them.”

“Stay as You Are” runs through August 8. Reception Friday August 3, 7-10 p.m. DeSoto Row Gallery, 2427 Desoto Avenue in Starland District.

Mighty challenging

Jim Vejar and Joe Cetti have been working all summer on this Saturday’s fundraising auction at the Mighty Eighth Museum, for the proposed World War Two monument in downtown Savannah. When word came this week of the death of George Zettler, it hit them hard. Zettler, a retired attorney and former member of Savannah City Council, was a veteran of World War Two and active in many veterans’ events.

“He’s been a motivating factor in this whole thing,” says Vejar, chairman of the monument committee of the Chatham County Veterans’ Council.

“This was his baby,” says Cetti, chairman of the auction. “He started the memorial by collecting coins. I wish he could have seen it because he worked hard on it.”

So far, the group has collected $200,000 toward the $1.2 million needed to construct the monument, a sculpture designed by Garland Weeks of Dallas, Texas and Susie Chisholm of Savannah, with structural assistance from architect Eric Meyerhoff.

A central globe, split in half to represent the two war theaters, will be surrounded by nine statues depicting military and civilians who were involved in the war effort. Rosie the Riveter will represent “those folks who supported the war, people who built the Liberty ships here in Savannah and had to go along with the rationing and that sort of thing,” says Vejar. “We want it to be all-encompassing.”

With Oglethorpe Square as its intended site, discussions with review bodies have lengthened the planning process, creating frustration for the monument committee.

As delays have continued, a possible alternate site has surfaced. Vejar says that earlier this year, representatives from Savannah River Landing approached the committee with an offer to site the World War Two monument at the entrance of the upscale development planned for east of downtown.

Does Vejar think the new site will come to fruition?

“You want my opinion? Yes,” says Vejar. “But we’re not going to give the square up until we’ve got everything in final contract form.

“These guys are dying every day and that bothers me. It really bothers me.”

The World War II Monument fundraiser starts at 5:30 p.m. this Saturday at the Mighty Eighth Museum in Pooler. Tickets are $25, which includes a tour of the museum. Call 272-1546 for information.