HYDE PARK — Florida native Carlton Ward Jr., known for his photography work across the state and in Africa, has opened a gallery featuring his work in Hyde Park Village.
The Hyde Park Village gallery on Swann Avenue features large-scale photographs of three areas of his work — ranches, the Central Florida wildlife corridor and Tampa Bay and the Gulf.
“I wanted for people, through this work, to experience the places I have visited,” Ward said as he walked through the gallery greeting guests at the Nov. 15 opening night reception.
The event attracted more than 200 loyal supporters and fans of the eighth-generation Floridian who photographs mangroves, sea shores, birds, working ranches, flowers in swamps and more. Among the guests was John Johnson, a South Tampa resident who grew up with Ward.
“Anyone can take a picture, but he sees a situation and knows how to make it something beautiful,” Johnson said. The gallery is something that Ward said he wanted to showcase the work, “and I started looking at a range of options. This was vacant and it was to the mutual interest to bring art and culture to the village.”
Ward’s most recent work began in January 2012 when he and a team began a 1,000-mile expedition over a 100-day period to increase public awareness of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The research team traveled from the Everglades National Park to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. A book and a video details the journey and Ward continues to work on the showing the significance of the area.
“It’s something I could work on the rest of my life,” he said.