Viewfinder Stories

JohnJohn Montelongo, Jason Deckman and Christopher Winston are three of Temple’s most popular photographers. The trio met at 1914 Coffee House this week to discuss plans for their Feb. 11 photo exhibit at Total Elegance Creations, 15 S Main Street in Temple. David Stone photo
JohnJohn Montelongo captured this lone wheelchair next to a window while investigating the abandoned Katy Hospital in Parsons, Kansas.
This photo by Jason Deckman captures the spirit of Tiffany Zeitouni, a woman who uses horse therapy to help soldiers combat PTSD, stress, depression and other mental ailments. The photo is part of his Cowgirl exhibit.

Photo exhibit coming to Total Elegance Creations on Feb. 11


Local art lovers will have multiple opportunities in the next couple weeks to see amazing pieces created by local painters and photographers. Here’s a look at what’s coming.


They call themselves “a brotherhood of photographers,” because they often run into each other while shooting events and assignments, and they support each other’s work by attending shows and exhibits.

All three — JohnJohn Montelongo, Jason Deckman and Chris Winston will be the featured artists at a Feb. 11 photography exhibition — Infatuation: Viewfinder Series — at Total Elegance Creations in Downtown Temple.

The show will begin at 7 p.m. and run until about 10. In addition to outstanding photographs, the event will feature music by Lacy, aka DJ Buried Alive, and food by You Da Man, Noodle Man. Admission will be $5.

“We are billing this as a show by photographers who have covered events and projects for the city,” Montelongo said. “We hope to make this an annual event.”

While all three men share a love for photography, their work and skill sets are very different. All three have had their work published in local periodicals such as the Temple Daily Telegram , Our Town Temple and Central Texas Living , among others.

Montelongo, a paranormal investigator, captures images from abandoned buildings and investigation locations. Winston focuses on street portraits, and Deckman is creating a series on cowgirls and horses.

Montelongo says a photo of an old mansion known as the Witch Castle in Kosse, Texas, about 55 miles east of Temple, was his most memorable photo.

“I had passed by that old house for years before I stopped and photographed it,” he said. “One day I passed through Kosse at 6 a.m., and it was just perfect. I won first place in the Texas Photography Contest and in a contest in Salado.”

Another memorable photo was captured during a trip to the Philippines, Montelongo said.

“I came upon a family of a mother and her three sons,” he said. “The mom was pregnant and bathing in the ocean with her kids around her. The family lived underneath a sidewalk in a little cave. It was very touching.”

Over the years, Montelongo’s work has been featured on several magazine covers, and the popular photographer also had a stint as a contract photographer for the Dallas Cowboys.

Winston said he has photographed many festivals and concerts, but some of his most impactful photos were images caught at memorial services and protests.

“I covered rallies for Michael Dean (a Temple man shot and killed by police on Dec. 2, 2019) and Vanessa Guillen (a Fort Hood soldier found murdered near Little River), and a gun-control protest,” he said. “My wife and I were both career Army, and Vanessa’s killing touched me deeply.”

“But, maybe my most memorable photo was of a young girl coming out of a Downtown Temple coffee shop during First Friday,” he said. “I shot the photo in black and white.”

“An event I shoot every year is Cupid’s Undie Run in Austin,” Winston said. The event features people running in their underwear to raise money for charities.

Deckman, an Army veteran who works as a planner for the city of Temple, will be presenting photos with a cowgirl theme. It’s all part of a project he has been working on with Tiffany Zeitouni, a woman who uses horse therapy to help soldiers combat PTSD, stress, depression and other mental ailments.

“I use images to tell her story,” Deckman said this week. “It’s a story about the relationship between cowgirls and their horses and the friendship between Tiffany and myself. We work together — its a collaboration and we both bring a lot to the table. I want to support her work, and any sales I have from the show will be donated to Hoofbeat for Heroes.”

“This has been a discovery for me,” he said. “I wasn’t a horse person growing up — it’s new. But this project has given me the opportunity to take unexpected photos.”

Like Montelongo and Winston, Deckman is a decorated photographer. He is a past winner of the Community Treasures photo contest held every year, and his winning shot was taken inside the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum.

The three photographers will each have about a dozen photos in the show. Work by local amateur photographers also will be included in the exhibit. To have your photos considered, contact Montelongo or Artist 2 Artist Showcase through Facebook.

Cow in the Morning Mist , a painting by Susan Sterle, is on exhibit  through March 11 at Art a la Carte, a collective exhibition by members of the Professional Artists of Central Texas.


Works by popular Temple artist Susan Sterle are on exhibit at Art a la Carte, a collective exhibition by members of the Professional Artists of Central Texas.

The show runs through March 11 at The Art Center of Waco and will feature many of the top artists in Central Texas.

Sterle is known for her art depicting animals and country landscapes.

A walk through her studio — Sterle Fine Art Studio — is dominated by images of pigs, horses, cows and especially dogs.

“Over the years I’ve been commissioned by people who want paintings of their pets,” she said. “I love animals and it’s something I really enjoy.”

Art has dominated Sterle’s life — she started painting in fifth grade — and she received an art degree from the University of Texas before launching a 35-year career as a graphics designer.


Artwork by more than a dozen Central Texas creators will be on display at the Cultural Activities Center through Feb. 24. The current exhibits include work by Rhiannon Taff and Freedman studios, plus drawings by students of University of Mary Hardin-Baylor professor John Hancock.

Also on display is Artists of the CAC, and the exhibits feature works by Hershall Seals, Stephanie Chambers, Jesse Wyman, Lindsay Gabriel, Marilyn Ritchie, Mary Black Pearson, Betsi Chamlee, Shawn Knuckles, Andrew Bill and more.

Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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