Best New Photographer

Bob Reuter

Bob Reuter is best known around town as an elder brother of the roots-music scene, a guy who has written as many killer songs as anyone without managing to sustain much of an audience. He is also the survivor of a rare blood disease that disabled him from doing his old day job (paint houses) and helped make him an occupational-rehab success story: He went back to school and became our best new photographer. Reuter shows his work in the conventional ways, at galleries and such, but he is also an ongoing one-man show, perpetually toting his latest batch of prints and passing them around. He has two core subjects -- attractive women and passionate musicians, all in the key of gritty -- and they sure look good in a bar, where he often breaks out his pictures. Reuter's gifts of pessimistic observation, long in evidence in his songs, carry over perfectly to film, where he is a little more forgiving. In his songs, for example, women always hit him like a hurricane and leave him homeless and drenched, but in his photographs they stand forth proud and vivid, full of possibility and hope, with no wrecked homes or broken hearts.