Picturing Asheville in “crazy color”

When Mountain Xpress went looking for an illustration to use on this issue’s front cover, we didn’t have to go far. The perfect picture of colorful Lexington Avenue was just down the street from our offices at the downtown Asheville décor store Mobilia.

Color me Asheville: Photographer Lynne Harty with two of her new works, part of a series on display at Mobilia. photo by Jon Elliston

The picture, by local photographer Lynne Harty, is a new work, but many Ashevilleans will recognize Harty’s signature style: She takes digital photos of familiar and not-so-familiar spots around the city, then uses Photoshop to enliven them with vivid colorings and textures.

(While her work will be familiar to many locals, her name might not be. Harty recently began using her maiden name; previously, she went by Lynne Siler.)

Harty, who hails from Atlanta and moved to Asheville seven years ago, says she’s been taking pictures “forever,” but only began using this method two years ago. “This was all Steve Parker‘s idea—he’s the buyer at Mobilia,” she explains. “He just called me one day and said, ‘What if we do some images of Asheville that are more on the kitschy side and colorful?’ I had never done anything like this, but he had this blind faith.”

At Parker’s urging, Harty set out to photograph the Mountaineer Inn on Tunnel Road and other Asheville icons. Today, she gets most of her images “from just wandering around downtown.”

Michelle Miller produces the giclee prints for Harty, and she has them framed by Blackbird Frame & Art in Biltmore Village. A new series of 15 of her pictures—“Asheville: An Urban View”—includes the Lexington Avenue image gracing the cover of Xpress and is on display at Mobilia throughout September. While the new works are similar in style to photos she’s displayed there before, she’s made subtle shifts in her Photoshop palette, using more earthy and sepia tones than before. “It’s still crazy color, but it’s a little more subdued.”

Visit www.lynneharty.com to see more of Harty’s images of Asheville.

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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