Gaylyn Mercer

7092 Carter Trail, Boulder, CO 80301

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I have loved photography since I was a little girl shooting everything in sight with my Polaroid, and feeling the inspiration that can touch us through pictures when my dad introduced me to Ansel Adams. Dad was a photography buff who had his own darkroom in our house when I was still too young to learn about it. My sister followed in his footsteps, learning darkroom technology in high school. Her son began entering photos in local art shows in middle school. So the photography buzz seems to run in the family.


Now here I am with today’s amazing cell phone technology putting photography in the hands of everyman. Yes, the photos displayed were all taken with a cell phone, while traveling the vast United Stated and the world – and I’m not hiding! I’ve paid as close attention to composition, lighting, perspective, etc. while using this technology, as I would with a more expensive and feature-rich camera. And while I cannot do everything with lighting and shutter speed I might wish for on some shots, there are without a doubt, photographs that I have in my portfolio that I would’ve missed while setting-up and setting-the-settings of higher-end equipment.


I remember one day specifically, when a photographer friend, with tripod, multiple lenses, large camera and carrying gear, was sitting in the bleachers documenting a regional Marching Band championship. We sat at the foot of the Rockies with the large stadium in front of us. With her zoom she captured some exciting moments that eluded the quality of the cell-phone zoom. But when her daughter, a flag team member, and her best friend, burst up the stairs into the stands, it was the handy cell-phone that caught their beaming candid smiles and playful congratulatory hugs! The top-dollar equipment was not quite at hand, and the settings weren’t quite optimized, and …


So I’m a fan of the at-the-ready camera, the easy change in angles, the video streaming I can use to grab the perfect frame while I’m in motion, riding in a car or a bike or on a train. With the advances in technology, and my predisposition to favor the raw capture and use few editing tools, I’m proud to be known as a cell-phone photographer. It’s a tool that – with education in SEEING ART all around us, learning a few basic principles about perspective and attention-to-detail – can open the eyes and creativity and appreciation of anyone. Anyone who wants to look and listen and find a little more in the world around them.


This whole photography world – that is, the world of a PHOTOGRAPHER – is a place I’ve stumbled my way into. With a certain awe and joy, and so much inner fulfillment, because I LOVE IMAGES. Before ever thinking of showing my work, I still spent hours taking photos; bending, twisting, straining high or lying down, to capture a certain perspective, a view down onto, or through, or fronted by, a certain element of the shot. I began to realize that I was seeing things others were not, when, on a safari ride through Custer State Park, as we approached a large and magnificent Buffalo on a golden hill, I mustered the courage to interrupt everyone’s journey and ask the driver to PLEASE STOP. There was a beautiful image coming into view and I wanted to capture it. To my horror, the driver kept driving, two feet, ten feet, even twenty feet … “closer” as he put it. The whole image was gone, ruined by the advancement of those several feet. The shot I saw was nowhere in sight at the new angle and position of the Jeep. Everyone waited for me to get my camera, but there was no picture worth preserving there. But what dawned on me, is that we all have cameras, but few know how to take pictures. All the driver thought about taking a picture of a buffalo is that I wanted to be closer. No thought of angles, position, the view of the animal and its relation to the grassy hill and the sunlight and the shadows, that I might be wanting to capture and preserve. I’ve never forgotten that lost picture, which is only in my mind’s eye. But I’ve also never forgotten the lesson, that as inhabiters of this beautiful, wild, stormy and serene world, we have to be taught how to see more of this in it. I share my photos to show those views. And when I have the opportunity, I share this philosophy.

Photography

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