Gyms are not the sort of place where you expect people to be
contemplating the blue Mediterranean Sea, medieval Italian villages,
or the mysterious Grand Canal in Venice – but that’s what patrons of
San Marino’s new Mission Fitness Center can focus on during squats,
curls, and lunges.
The theme of exotic travel permeates the gym because of the huge,
colorful photographs by San Marino resident Himanshu Wickramasinghe,
M.D., hung on the walls.
The San Marino resident is a board-certified pulmonologist and
critical care physician at the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in
Santa Clarita. He is also an accomplished amateur travel
A reception with the artist will be held on September 22-Sat. 3-5pm
at the Mission Fitness Center, which is located at 2451 Mission Street
in San Marino.
The photographs displayed at the gym include an extraordinary view of
the Alhambra (the palace, not the town) at sunset, under a fiery
roiling sky; a view of the blue Mediterranean from an ancient, worn,
gateway; night scenes from the Grand Canal in Venice; and more.
Wickramasinghe’s passion for photography began during his childhood in
Sri Lanka, when he began photographing flowers and landscapes. “I just
have always enjoyed photography,” he says. “And my wife Kumari and I
like to travel a lot, as do my children.” Their children are daughter
Induni, a graduate of Flintridge Prep in La Canada, and son Yuvan, a
junior at SMHS.
Up to now, Wickramasinghe says, only family and friends saw his
photographs. “They kept telling me, ‘You need to enlarge them, you
need to show them,’ but I never got around to doing it.”
Then, he started working out at the new Mission Fitness Center. The
center’s cofounder, Wendy Grace, asked him if he’d be willing to put
his work on display in the gym. “She had this idea that they should
display art made by people in the community.” He agreed to do it. “It
makes me feel great; it’s nice to know someone is appreciating your
work,” he says.
One of Wickramasinghe’s specialties is high dynamic range (HDR)
photography, which gives his images a painterly look. “With a regular
photograph, it’s hard for the camera to capture the whole range of
dark and light; if you expose for the sky, things in the shadows won’t
be well-represented; if you expose for the darker areas, the sky will
be blown out. This has always been a limitation in standard
photography. In HDR we take pictures of the same scene at different
exposures, so we can expose for light AND shadowy areas. It takes 3 to
5 exposures. We put those images into software which matches them
exactly, and we can work on it to get the colors right and the entire
range of lightness and darkness captured very, very well. It really
looks like a painting.” He uses the programs Lightroom and Photomatix
to combine and adjust his images.
At the moment, Wickramasinghe doesn’t know where he and his family
will go on their next foreign trip. In photography, his next frontier
is portraits of people. “I’ve been a little intimidated about doing
that, and I think it’s time.”
He notes that he has many more pictures that he hasn’t gotten around
to printing. “If people think they’re good enough, I might do another
exhibit, for charity,” he muses. In the meantime, he has a busy life;
along with medicine, travel photography, and working out, he plays
keyboard with a local Sri Lankan pop music band.
There is no charge to view the exhibit at the Mission Fitness Center.
Except for the exercise equipment, the space even looks like a
gallery, with whitewashed brick walls, huge picture windows, and a
high exposed ceiling. The gym is open Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m.
to 10 p.m., Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 3
p.m. Wikramasinghe’s photos will be on display through October 20th,
and framed prints are available for sale.
For more information, go to missionfitnesscenter.com, call
626-799-0977, or email email@example.com.
TWO PHOTOS ATTACHED:
Caption: San Marino physician/photographer/musician Himanshu
Wickramasinghe has beautiful travel photographs on display at the new
Mission Fitness Center on Mission Street in San Marino. The gym owners
hope to have more displays by local artists.