Five years ago, Pictura Gallery opened for business on the corner of West 6th Street and North College with the goal of bringing fine art photography to the Midwest. Today, Pictura has succeeded not only in introducing Bloomington and surrounding areas to the latest in avant-garde photography but also in establishing itself as an up-and-coming gallery on the national scene.

“That’s been surprising,” says co-owner Martha Moore, who runs the gallery with her husband, David. “We thought we were just going to be the little gallery on the corner.”

The idea for opening a gallery began with David, an amateur photographer with an interest in art photography, who’d been harboring a desire to bring to Bloomington what he was seeing on the East and West coasts. “The family joke had always been that we’d open a gallery downtown when a place on a corner opened up, which is rare,” Martha says. “The week of David’s fiftieth birthday, our daughter saw a ‘For Rent’ sign, came home, and said to David, ‘It’s time for you to stop complaining about turning fifty and open the gallery.’”

Pictura now features regular bimonthly shows of local, national, and international artists and a roster of established and award-winning photographers, including IU photography professor Osamu James Nakagawa and Siberian-born Evgenia Arbugaeva, who was recently named in Photo District News magazine as one of the top 30 emerging photographers.

“I think we’ve succeeded in getting people to recognize how cool this art form is,” Martha says. “It’s great to be able to help educate Bloomington about what’s happening in the world of contemporary photography.”