PHOTOGRAPHIC CANVASES OF NEW YORK BY PETER KAPLAN -- Through January at Status Gallery, 3237 P St. NW.

Everyone loves snapshots. But few hold such photographs in sufficient esteem to hang them on a wall. No matter how sophisticated the print, chances are it will be banished to a book or family album.

No longer. Now there is a process, patented by the West Coast-based Status Galleries, which allows snapshots to be reproduced on canvas. Imagine a photograph with all the texture and depth of an oil painting.

The effect is achieved by reproducing a slide or a negative on special paper with a solution that locks in the inks and dyes. This copy is then placed in another solution until the original paper melts away, leaving only the color. The color is then transferred onto a stretched canvas.

The hues on these photographic canvases are so vibrant and brilliant that they practically jump off the wall. Black and white photos can be processed as is, or with a sepia tone. Lithographs can also be successfully reproduced.

If you can't imagine a "photographic canvas," check out the ones by New York by Peter Kaplan on exhibit here now. Kaplan is best known for his wildlife photography, but these dramatic impressions of the city are stunning.

His perspective of skyscrapers and skylines give an appropriately surreal edge to modern architecture.A view from the ground up of the World Trade Center, Central Park in the snow or the Chrysler building reflected through a sculpture in front of the entrance, all play up sharp angles and bold geometric edges. One wonderful panorama of the city taken from the needle of the Empire State Building is enough to give anyone an attack of vertigo.