Dan Wheeler Wins Accolades in State Arts Competition

Dan Wheeler Wins Accolades in State Arts Competition

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Marjorie P. Lee retirement community resident Dan Wheeler knows that no one can see everything in the course of one lifetime. But that doesn’t stop him from turning his camera lens on the life around him and capturing every moment he can.

Wheeler is now retired from a long career as a University of Cincinnati cognitive psychologist. And it was a distinguished career, too.

"Dan inherited his mother’s keenly observant eye."

He was a significant contributor to research on the Word Superiority Effect, having co-developed the basic experimental framework, known as the “Reicher-Wheeler Paradigm” used to investigate it. He also researched chaos theory and postulated on its applications to cryptography.

But Wheeler wasn’t born a research psychologist. He was born an artist.


A family living behind the lens

In the early 1950s, while the family was living in Heidelberg, Germany, Wheeler’s mother Grayce bought a medium-format Rolleiflex camera. She dove into a serious study of photography (here, in this early portrait, are Dan and his father, Stanley).

dan_wheeler_father-1.jpgGrace’s photographic studies continued after the family moved back to the United States in 1955. She had her own darkroom in their Fairfax, Virginia home and belonged to several camera clubs. Her favorite subjects included her children and her aging mother. She remained an active photographer well into her senior years.

Dan inherited his mother’s keenly observant eye. And, somewhere along the line, her love of artistry manifested in him, too. In high school, he exhibited at Washington, D.C.’s Department of Recreation Photographic Salons. His photos won several prizes in contests organized by area newspapers.

During his undergraduate years at Yale, Wheeler took courses in graphic design and photography and served as the Chief Photographer for the student newspaper, the Yale Daily News.

Although graduate work and his subsequent career in psychology suppressed his creative impulses for many years, now, in retirement, he has rediscovered life behind the lens.


Digital renaissance

dan_wheeler_updown.jpgIn the late ‘90s, Wheeler began experimenting with digital photography. And he once again engaged with his creative practice.

"I became very serious about it," he told the University of Cincinnati’s PR team, "and started doing photography as an art, the kind of images that would hang on gallery walls."

In 2002, several of his photographs were accepted for a show at the
b. j. spoke gallery in Huntington, New York. His work was reviewed in the New York Times.

Recognition continued to mount. In 2010, his photograph "Aging" won first place in the juried Digital Photography Challenge.

In 2011 and 2012, he was honored with back-to-back “Print of the Year” awards — first by the Camera Club of Cincinnati, then by the Photography Club of Greater Cincinnati.


 (New Athens from Up|Down)


Living well through art

Wheeler won several awards at this year’s LeadingAge Art and Writing Show. In the regional competition for Southwest Ohio, he earned accolades in three categories.

In the Computer Art category, he took home second place for this digitally-manipulated photo. Another of his photos won third place in photography (the regional first prize went to his longtime friend, Linda Fowler, who lives in a retirement community in Lebanon).

Wheeler is a creative writer, too. His short memoir piece, “Valentine’s Day Plus Fifty,” won second place in non-fiction.



All three of his entries were subsequently entered in LeadingAge’s statewide arts competition, which was held in early September in Columbus. In the state contest, his Photography entry took home second place — even better than it had fared at regionals — while his friend Fowler’s photograph again took home the top prize.

And that’s perfectly fine by him. A top honor is never missed when it goes to a close comrade. Moreover, Wheeler’s been atop the LeadingAge heap before. He took home first prizes in photography at the 2014 contest and in the 2015 competition.

Wheeler’s current projects are Measurements: Mismeasure of Woman and candid portraits of fellow Marjorie P. Lee residents. A show of 20 of these portraits was on display at Marjorie P. Lee in July of 2014.

Dan Wheeler’s creative life is rich. And he’s an inspiration not only to fellow residents at Marjorie P. Lee, but to other seniors whose own artistic fires burn bright. We at Episcopal Retirement Services are delighted to know and serve him.
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Bryan Reynolds
October 27, 2016
Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

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