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Benton County Museum artwork

A new exhibition that features Corvallis photographer Rich Bergeman opens Friday and will remain until June 15 at the Benton County Museum.

The collection “The Land Remembers” features more than 30 black-and-white infrared photographs.

The public is invited to an opening reception from 5-6:30 p.m. Friday. Bergeman will later give a gallery talk at 2 p.m. June 1.

Over the last three years Bergeman has explored hundreds of miles of back roads in the Rogue River Country from Mt. McLoughlin to Gold Beach — as well as a few more miles on the river — in search of places where one of the bloodiest and longest-running wars in the state's history raged in the early 1850s.

Largely forgotten today, the Rogue River Wars festered and flared up multiple times between 1851 and 1854 before erupting into all-out war involving the U.S. Army in 1855-56. It ended with the forced removal of the Rogue Valley and the South Coast tribes to reservations at Siletz and Grand Ronde in what natives remember as Oregon's own “Trail of Tears.” Bergeman says his goal was not to document exact sites from the war years, but rather to bring the historic conflict back to life through a “reflective look at the beautiful and sublime landscape that played host to such tragic events over 160 years ago.”

An Oregonian since 1976, Bergeman is a retired instructor of journalism and photography for Linn-Benton Community College in Albany. The 70-year-old photographer has been exhibiting his work at various venues in the Northwest and beyond since the 1980s. Over the past two decades he has focused primarily on portraying forgotten Northwest histories through photographs of what’s been left behind.

Bergeman’s photographic portfolios can be seen at richbergeman.zenfolio.com and in book form.

The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission is free.

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