In 2021, many of our NPPE Alumni created expression-filled photography that attracted the attention of art professionals and collectors. The NPPE staff decided to shout out their achievements with several retrospective groups to inspire other National Park Photography Expedition Alumni, future Alumni, and creative photographers everywhere. Without their personal aesthetics, their computers and cameras would be mindless machines producing effects without substance, forms minus relevance, and narration without meaning. For all of them, their art photography fills a large part of their lives and the lives of those who appreciate their work.
Most of us intuitively and emotionally respond to natural scenes and phenomena. However, the development of those emotional responses into art photography depends on the introduction of new ideas, new methods, new ways of expression and interpretation. More importantly, art photography succeeds when creative individuals step outside the boundaries of typical documentation and synthetic Instagram fashion. These NPPE alumni challenged established concepts and, at times, endured personal hardship to change the way we see them, and they earned rewards, exhibits, and the appreciation of their peers.
Art Photographer Debbie Abrames—
Photographically, 2021 was a good year for me!
Much of my work comes from national parks, an excellent photographic resource. While these locations’ innate truth and beauty are inspiring, there is so much more. I sincerely enjoy exploring the underlying themes of solitude, environmental self-reliance, and color shift in my finished pieces.
I had three photographs accepted in the Orange County Fair, with one of them receiving an honorable mention ribbon. One of my photographs was selected for publication in “Our Magnificent Planet 2021 – Single-Image Celebrations from LensWork Readers”. The book is a collection of 300 photographs from 300 different artists. Interestingly the picture chosen was one I least expected.
The R Galley, located in Boulder, Colorado, built an online gallery dedicated to National Parks. As of the end of the year, I’ve had 19 photographs from 8 different National Parks selected for inclusion. Of those parks, Sequoia, Glacier, and Capitol Reef were visited during art photography workshops with National Parks Photography Expeditions (NPPE). I’m excited to see what happens with this gallery and hope to add to their underrepresented parks in 2022, such as Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Badlands, and others. My learning goals for 2022 include learning to print my photographs and exploring infrared photography.
Art Photographer Sheryl Ball—
During the pandemic, the ability to get out into public gardens and national parks has been a lifesaver for me. It has allowed me to enjoy our natural environment and grow my skills simultaneously. In 2021 I was accepted into my first two juried art festivals to exhibit and sell my work and entered my first photography competitions. I consider myself an emerging nature photographic artisan and have loved sharing my work and vision of nature’s beauty. The conversations with art festival attendees have been encouraging for me. My experiences through NPPE have accelerated my growth behind the camera and at my desk with my Wacom pen at hand. These skills benefit all my floral, wildlife, abstracts, and landscapes.
In 2022 I want to continue to grow my nature artistry skills and confidence while exploring additional techniques, such as ICM, infrared, and long exposures. I’ve already begun a floral photography program, and I’m planning a trip to the Outer Banks to work on long exposures and ICM. I look forward to working with Bob and the team to plan my next expedition. My stretch goal is to enter and win at least one of the International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) competitions
Art Photographer Jackie Hams—
Jacquelyn (Jackie) Hams’ photographs reflect her travel experiences during a twenty-year career as an Earth Science educator and explorer. Her portfolio includes unique landscapes from remote locations such as the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica Specially Managed Area, Iceland, the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.
Her images have appeared in National Science Foundation blogs, and featured on background sets on the Big Bang, Seal Team, Saved by the Bell, and 911 Lone Star television shows. Jackie was most recently featured in the National Park Photography Expedition Lassen Project Book.
For 2022, Jackie plans to expand her landscape photography to include exploring the Pacific Northwest, night photography and learning to use the Canon R5 mirrorless system.