Monday, March 20, 2023     Volume: 24, Issue: 3

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on January 31st, 2023, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 23, Issue 49 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 23, Issue 49

Searching for Snow exhibit highlights icy photographs by Lee-Volker Cox


Neither rain nor sleet nor snow has kept one local photographer—usually armed with a camera everywhere he goes—from adding to his body of work on a near daily basis. The Santa Maria Riverbed was one of Central Coast resident Lee-Volker Cox’s recent subjects, which he documented after the January rainfall, while a new solo exhibit showcases the artist’s approach to a colder cloud-born substance.

One of local photographer Lee-Volker Cox’s personal favorites of his photos featured in Searching for Snow—a new exhibit in Santa Maria—is Time to Play, which he took during a burlap sack race at North Star Bay, Greenland.

When deciding on a theme for his winter show, ultimately titled Searching for Snow, Cox had the idea to assemble photographs from his past stays in Greenland and Alaska in order to transport local viewers to some snowy terrains, since the weather doesn’t change much around here, he said.

“All of the photos, except for one, are in Greenland,” said Cox, who decided to a single photo he took in Alaska in order to make an interesting comparison between that and a similar Greenland-based photo, hung next to it.

Let it snow
Photographs by Lee-Volker Cox are currently on display at Ameriprise Financial—located at 2605 S. Miller St., suite 104, Santa Maria—as part of Cox’s ongoing solo show, Searching for Snow, which debuted in January.

Both photos depict teams of snow dogs, but the teams don’t share the same type of line formation, Cox explained.

“In Alaska, teams navigate through trees and brush and must be narrow,” Cox said. “Greenland hunters use their dog sledges on the frozen sea ice where they must spread their weight out to cover a wide area, to prevent breaking through ice.”

Cox took the Alaska-based photo, titled Day One, in 2019 at the starting line of a 1,000-mile race. The Greenland photo, titled Off and Running, depicts a team of dogs during a 5-mile race as part of an annual Inuit hunters competition in 2007.

Lee-Volker Cox recently hung up a collection of his photographs at Santa Maria’s Ameriprise Financial office. A reception for the new solo exhibit took place on Jan. 26.

Among Cox’s photographs featured in Searching for Snow, which is currently on display in the lobby at Ameriprise Financial in Santa Maria, Day One and Off and Running are a few of the artist’s personal favorites, along with Time to Play. A group of smiling children leap forward in the photo, with burlap bags covering their legs, during a sack race on the frozen sea ice of Greenland’s North Star Bay.

As a photographer, Cox—whose work has been showcased at the Santa Maria Public Library and other local venues over the years—enjoys taking candid pictures of people during sporting events or other activities, or simply while being out around town, which is why he rarely goes anywhere without one of his cameras. And the less planned, the better, he believes.

Many of the photos included in Searching for Snow were taken while photographer Lee-Volker Cox was stationed in Greenland, during his service in the U.S. Air Force.

“You never know what you’re going to find,” Cox said. “Some of my best photos are ones that were not planned, the ones where I was driving around and thought, ‘Oh my goodness, look at that,’ and I’d pull over real quick to snag that.”

Cox became passionate about photography in high school and hasn’t let go of the hobby since. While serving in the U.S. Air Force, Cox photographed aspects of nearly every area where he was stationed or traveled to around the world. Now retired, Cox continues to enjoy capturing slices of life.

“I don’t do portraits or anything like that. I like to, for lack of a better word, take pictures of ‘life’—what’s going on out and about, whether I’m out in the mountains, or I’m at the beach, or wherever it is,” Cox said. “I just like to capture what’s going on.”

Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood wants to know what’s going on, especially with local artists. Send comments to

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