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BetterPhoto Member: Robert Brown


member since 3/18/2003
Portrait or Personal Image - Robert  Brown

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Artistís Statement

Photography took me by surprise a little over four years ago. For much of my adult life, I had been teaching and writing poetry. But that changed when I moved back to Oregon ten years ago and started a small stock brokerage: for some reason, I lost the passion for writing poetry. Since Iím a person who enjoys creating things, I felt adrift. Art was missing from my life.

Luckily for me, I decided to buy a digital camera at Costco one day a little over seven years ago. It wasnít anything specialĖa Nikon Coolpix 700Ėbut almost immediately I was hooked. I started shooting everything . . . most of it not very good, but I knew this is what I needed to do. I needed to do something in the arts to balance out what I was doing in business.

As a frustrated painter, I found I was trying to incorporate the work of various painters into my own work. I became interested in shooting abstracts and impressionist photographs. While many photographers are interested in capturing Kodak moments or postcard images, that has never been my quest. Iíve always been more interested in photographs that are sublime, moody, symbolic, surreal, and sometimes dark and gnarled. One problem I find with postcard-type shots is that they all look like the same photographer took them. They may be technically excellent, but they donít say much about the person who snapped the shutter. I hope my photos are extensions of me, extensions of my obsessions and fears and ideals. I hope they say something about me and the way I view the world.

Iím still being surprised by photographyĖby how much I still have to learn, by how many terrific types of photography there are to explore, and by how many great photographersí work Iíve yet to discover. Over the last few years Iíve been making lists of photographic projects Iíd like to undertake: the list is already long enough to last a lifetime.

My photos are currently on display at RiverSea Gallery, Sixth Street Gallery, and Redmond Hall. I also shoot for a number of stock agencies, including Acclaim Images, Alamy, Jupiter Images, and Photoshelter.

Equipment

Like many photographers, Iíve become a bit of an equipment collector. Below is a list of the cameras Iím currently using:

Canon 5D with Canon 20mm, Canon 17-40L, Canon 50mm, Canon 70-200L, Canon 100mm macro, and Canon life-size converter.
Leica CL and Voightlander R2 with Voigtlander 15mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 75mm, as well as a Summicron 40mm.
Hasselblad Xpan with Hasselblad 45mm and 90mm lenses.
Hasselblad 500C with a 80mm lens.
Holga 120.
Zone Image medium format pinhole camera.
Tachihara 4x5 view camera,
Calumet C-1 8x10 view camera.

For printing I use a Epson 2200 printer for most of my work. I also have a fully equipped wet darkroom for doing fine art black and white printing.

Bio

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. After high school, I attended Oregon State University (B.S. in Math Sciences), University of Montana (M.F.A. in Creative Writing), and University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee (Ph.D. in English). I taught English and Creative Writing at Kent State University for five years. During this time I published over 100 poems in literary reviews, as well as some short stories, scholarly articles, over a dozen childrenís informational books, and a collection of poetry (Sleepwalking with Mayakovsky, Kent State University Press). Besides my photography obsession, I also enjoy sports, fine wine, travel, literature, and art.

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