Joe Sohm photographed all 50 states over the past 30 years and will be presenting them at a 90-minute multimedia event, “Visions Of America: A Photographer’s Lifelong Search for America.” The event will occur in the Preus-Brandt Forum on California Lutheran University’s main campus Sunday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. to celebrate Presidents’ Day.
Cal Lutheran’s President Chris Kimball will give the introduction to the program.
“Presidents Day is a patriotic day and Joe’s photos are images of America,” Kimball said.
The proceeds will go to New West Symphony, a professional orchestra.
Sohm said he wanted to share his experiences from traveling and capturing moments across the 50 states, as the photographs are snapshots of “the American story.”
According to NWS’ website, Sohm’s photographs have been published over 500,000 times.
Kerrie Sadler, freelance volunteer and former publicity manager for the NWS said, “There are so many different aspects of the United States. I think Joe really captures the word ‘united’ in United States. He captures the similarities that we all share as Americans, along with the beauty and the differences.”
Sohm said this journey started with him wanting to visit places he had never seen in the country. His goal in the beginning was to drive around and see what he found. He took photos of America both on good and bad days.
Sadler said Sohm’s photos express everyday America, rather than big events.
“I think Joe’s focus is on America as a great place and diverse with lots of difference in there. Even though each of us maybe doesn’t like every part, there are things that we can share and be proud of,” Kimball said.
Sohm said that he takes pictures of replicated America through reenactments of historical event, such as the surrender of the Revolutionary War in Yorktown. He said his photos are of “modern-day Americans recreating our past.”
“I think [Visions of America] is important to the community and important to America right now just for us all to remember the good in each other and the good in our country,” Sadler said.
Kimball said that the NWS has held fundraisers at Cal Lutheran’s campus many times in recent years.
“It’s an opportunity for the campus to provide a space where a valuable arts group can benefit,” Kimball said.
He also said that they need to raise money as a non profit for the arts.
According to the website, this event is part of a series of fundraisers called The Pleasure of Your Company.
Sohm said he hopes to present “a challenge to the audience that what we have in a lot of ways is the benefits of people who lived two centuries before us. The only obligation we have is to enjoy it and pass it on to the next generation.”
Tickets for the event are $40 for community guests and free for anyone who can present a valid Cal Lutheran I.D. Reserved seating is available online at newwestsymphony.org or by calling 818-889-7712.