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A young master surprises a local photographer in the National Gallery of Art.
 

WHEN
12:32pm
3.13.14

WHERE
National Gallery of Art

When Walt Polley recently visited the National Gallery of Art to take in the Garry Winogrand street-photography exhibit, he expected to see rare and remarkable prints adorning the walls. That goal was realized. But the Bel Air, Md.-based amateur photographer didn’t anticipate stumbling upon a young master at work. The French painter, Marion Colomer, was reproducing Rembrandt’s “Self Portrait, 1659.” It was an altogether quiet tableau, and Polley simply wanted to capture its magic without being intrusive. “I was just having fun with the manual lens on my camera, and I used the existing light,” says Polley, who captured the image with a Nikon D5100 using a 40-year-old 50 mm lens. “An uncle gave me his early Nikon cameras and several fully manual lenses, which were fixed on my new camera throughout the long winter. I enjoy the challenge of using old quality glass on a camera not designed for it.” The Old Master would have been proud.