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Artist Spotlight…
Edwin Downer makes faces'

By Staff
LOVES PHOTOGRAPHY – Edwin Downer has an eye for faces and expressions. Over the last six decades, he has photographed hundreds of people. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Elizabeth Hall / special to The Star
Oct. 13, 2002
Edwin Downer is captivated by the human face.
During the last six decades, he has photographed hundreds of men, women and children. There are chubby little girls and Chinese street vendors, German women and toothless cowboys.
Downer's lens has a mysterious way of making each one beautiful in their own right, of capturing a moment in time that would otherwise go unrecognized, unappreciated.
In his extensive career as a photographer, he and his wife, Betty Maude, have traveled the world visiting more than 40 countries and spanning nearly every continent.
But Downer attributes his beginnings as an artist to Jo Garrott, an art teacher at Marion Park grammar school.
He remained active in art throughout school, painting sets for plays, designing pages for his high school annual and taking photographs for other school publications.
Downer also says early encounters with symphony concerts and art museums were inspirations.
Downer said photography can be harder to justify as a legitimate art form.
In terms of photography equipment, Downer has changed with the times and not reluctantly.
Downer has played an active role on the local and regional art scene for many years, serving as a Mississippi Art Commission member for nine years and board chairman of the organization for four years.
He was also a founder of Lively Arts in Meridian and Friends of the Arts in Mississippi and the 1994 chairman of the Literary Task Force of Southern Arts Federation.
In December 1999, the Meridian Museum of Art honored Downer with a special celebration ceremony for his support of the museum throughout its nearly 30-year history.