Bob Hays

As I'm shooting a scene which stirs my emotions, and fuels my passion for creating, I am formulating in my minds eye what the final image may look like.  I want the final print to reflect the feelings I was experiencing at the time of capture. My art prints contain much of what was not actually there.  I use many kinds of Photoshop effects to get different looks, to make colors pop, or perhaps the image makes a strong black and white. My images reach deeply into peoples souls and creates internal feelings ofbliss and relieves every day tensions.

My fine art photographic images are the cumulation of 45 years of passionate photographic experience.  The study of the great masters of photography such as Ansel Adams, Elliot Porter, Jim Bones, Moose Peterson, Dave Black, Joe McNally, Art Wolf and many other legendary photographers has fueled my insatiable thirst for creating great works of art. And the explosion of technological advancements in digital imaging has opened the doors to unlimited creative expression.  The brilliance of the final piece of fine art reaches into the depths of one’s soul. It quietens the busy mind, giving rest from dealing with the hassles of the everyday world. Viewing my art delivers a feeling of bless, peace and tranquility. 

My artistic roots go back to my parents being great artists themselves. My mother had degrees in art and English from North Texas State Teachers College and taught art for many years in public schools. She was a master artist. My father was a master craftsman who could build anything with wood, and fix anything broken. My father sparked my interest in photography when I was just a young boy. He was a talented photographer with his own black and white darkroom, and he processed many rolls of slide film.

In the mid 70’s, I attended Texas Christian University and took some photography classes.  Upon graduation in 1977, my parents gave me a very nice Nikon camera and some lenses.  On most weekends, I would drive around Texas shooting what ever I found interesting.  Being a perfectionist, I was never satisfied with my results. This created in me a drive to keep trying to achieve perfection. In 1985, I took a photo workshop at Big Bend National Park from a great Southwestern photographer by the name of Jim Bones. Jim has published several fine art photography books. He taught me much about composition and camera craft. In those days, I shot almost all Kodachrome slide film and processed my own prints getting very rich color saturation.  In 2004, I attended Moose Peterson’s workshop to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming.  Moose is a Nikon Legend Behind the Lens and a world renowned wildlife and scenic photographer. 

 Although I miss the days of making enlargements in my wet darkroom, the unlimited creative possibilities of the digital darkroom quenches my creative thirst. With the technical advancements in just the last few years of digital cameras, artists of today have more tools to create with than ever was available before digital photography became of age.

In the last 10 years, I started traveling internationally to places such as Sikkim, India, and Ladakh, India. I also have traveled to the countries of Nepal, Bhutan, Turkey, and Myanmar. These amazing places have very long histories and traditions that go back well into ancient times. Visiting these places have been spiritual journeys of a lifetime. To experience ancient cultures, to meet such sweet and loving people, to eat their amazing food, to visit 1000 year old monasteries, all are experiences that are priceless and precious beyond description. In many of the fabulous places I have visited, the people live as they didmany centuries ago making another goal of my fine art photography is to bring an awareness of these ancient cultures to the modern world.

 Wherever the location may be, my process begins the moment I start seeing pictures. By that time, I already know which lens and camera settings for that particular lighting are needed. Just as an artist uses contrast of light, color, and lines to create a composition on canvas, I combine these same elements to produce aesthetic quality on photographic paper. 

What happens after the shutter clicks determines what you end up with, whether it’s just another snapshotor a very fine work of art. I do the usual tweaking of colors, contrast, and and any other fixes that are needed.  Then I start trying the filters that Photoshop possesses. These filters produce an unlimited amount of surreal and different renditions of the same image. From black and white conversions, to shifting colors, to creating textures, to making it look like an oil painting.