May 14, 2014 2:02 PM by Faye DeHoff

Unique photographic exhibit featuring first responders opens May 17

TUCSON - A collection featuring photographic images of first response agencies from Southern Arizona in the line of duty, will be launched at Borderlands Brewing Company on May 17.

The Stronger Than Steel 2014 collection art exhibit and high-gloss 100-page coffee table book is the third collection of images of this genre by local photographer Roni Ziemba. The over 15 agencies featured in the project include: Northwest Fire District, Tucson Fire and Police Departments, U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Marshals Service.

The Stronger Than Steel project honors the men and women of public safety with photographic art imagery that give the viewer a look behind the yellow caution tape rarely seen by the public. Ziemba has established herself as the only photographer in the country creating images of this kind with access to multiple local and federal agencies. Ziemba has developed a unique and trusted rapport to never compromise the integrity of any department or scene.

Ziemba has dedicated over 6,000 hours in the past three years to this project, with no financial payment. Stronger Than Steel is a not-for-profit endeavor.

The Stronger Than Steel imagery is bold and modern. The photographs not only tell a story about each agent, officer, firefighter or deputy but also about the nature of each departments work. The tag line of the project, The Art of First Response, reflects the fact that images are more than simple documentary work, they are fine art interpretations of the essence of first responders.

As a result, there are currently 118 art pieces, some sized as large as 40"x62", that have been purchased by departments and are permanently installed in public spaces around Tucson, including the Tucson International Airport. The photographs are stunningly printed on Kodak metallic professional print paper and mounted between two sheets of super plexi-glass and museum mounted to float away from the wall to accentuate the strikingly modern quality of the images.

This year Stronger Than Steel has established the Stronger Than Steel / Heart of Gold Award, given to men and women first responders who have demonstrated either extreme heroism in the line of duty or above and beyond community service. For 2014 here are four awardees; Drexel Heights Fire District firefighters Mark Gowan, John McGinn and Chad Bailey and Tucson Fire Department Chief Laura Baker. The Drexel firefighters are credited with courageously extricating a resident from his burning home. Chief Baker is being awarded because of an overwhelming response to a social media posting regarding her current battle with breast cancer which reflected her tremendously inspirational stature to thousands of admirers across the country. All four awardees exemplify the Heart of Gold criteria. These awards will be presented at the book launch and art exhibit at Borderlands Brewing Company on May 17.

For more information contact Roni Ziemba at 520.820.4412.


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