Ken Cook, Mojave National Preserve Artists in Residence, developed his color sense in childhood where he found the hues and saturation levels of falling leaves of his native Michigan captivating. While these memories formed his appreciation of color he did not consider photography as an art form until later in life. “When my first son was born, I bought a 35mm DSLR for the purposes of capturing good family images. As often happens, you make a few good pictures and those close to you tell you have a good eye and encourage you to shoot more, learn more, and perhaps go professional.”
Going professional was not within Ken’s life plan until nearing the end of his independent business career in the commercial insurance arena, but over those working and family rearing years he continued to study and practice in several areas, taking an underwater program from Brooks and completing serious studies of the medium at the College of the Desert in Palm Springs. In 2015 he concluded art photography studies at the California Center of Digital Arts in Brea, California, and through the thematic program developed his thesis for the Artists in Residence grant. “I had studied art history at the college level and I tied that academic background to contemporary art photography as a new way to express myself.”
When I pursue a Fine Art Photographic theme, I strive to bring to my viewing audience more than what is before the lens. I search for the feeling and then pursue a workflow to transmit that emotion to the audience. In many ways my goal is to use colors to shape the rhythm of a nature sonnet in much the same way poets use words or as composer might employ notes to shape music. It is instinctive, a gut feeling, something that I hear and see at the same time. That is how I express myself.
I have been actively involved in the art world for more than twenty-five years as an artist, a commercial artist, and web designer. Five years ago, the tug to learn photography and produce fine art images that allow my voice to be heard has become my passion. I dove into photography courses, fine art workshops, most recently, the Fine Art Photography Workshop series presented by Robert Killen who introduced me to the magic light of Mojave National Preserve.
My work appears in numerous book publications, commercial brochures, magazines, and online where I have won several awards. In June 2010, work from my “My Eyes” project hung as part of a Group Exhibition at Calumet Photographic in Santa Ana, CA.
Michael E. Gordon is an award-winning fine art landscape photographer best known for his black and white ‘Desert’ series. His photographs have been published in and on the covers of numerous magazines, web publications, calendars, textbooks, and music CD’s. He is represented by art galleries in the U.S. and Europe, and his fine art prints are held internationally in the private collections of the United States Embassy, Kaiser Permanente, and many others. Publications and clients include: Arte Fotográfico, Rangefinder magazine, Broughton Quarterly, Sierra Club, Pew Charitable Trusts, T-Mobile, Defenders (Defenders of Wildlife), The Wilderness Society, USDA Forest Service, and many more. His awards and recognition include International Photography Awards, Prix de la Photographie, Paris, and Black & White Spider Awards.
Michael's 20-year service as volunteer ranger in the San Gorgonio Wilderness earned him a President's Gold Volunteer Service award in 2008. He has served on the Board of Directors for the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Mojave National Preserve Conservancy. His photographs have been instrumental in the campaigns of The Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, and others. He leads numerous photo workshops and tours for photographers of all levels each year, is co-founder of Visionary Photography Workshops, and teaches for The Los Angeles Center of Photography.
Photography offered me everything I always wanted - a way to record the results of my innate curiosity, the opportunity to do so in a creative way, and the freedom to move from one place to another.
As a full-time photographer for over 20 years, my love of photography has pushed me forward through the tough times as well as the absolutely amazing times. I have captured the quietness Mother Nature gives us to the amazing faces of man and beast.
Without a creative outlet, I am not sure I could exist with such gratitude and grace. Being creative affords me hours of quiet contemplation, allows me to absorb the beauty around me even when there seems to be very little of it and feeds my soul. Sharing my resulting images and knowledge is my way of hoping to bring those same feelings to those who view them.
In 2001, my experience traveling alone in an RV for three and a half years photographing the people of America and the work they do helped me to realize that fear can be very binding. Pushing through that was a constant eye opening experience. And because I went from being shy and timid to a photographer full of confidence and love, I knew I needed to share that with other people.
After publishing my book, Working in the USA, I began focusing on my fine art photography and conducting workshops. Being a full-time photographic artist and instructor, I get to do what I love every day.
J. Marie Huston combines her former career in public service with a life-long love of the outdoors to create portraits of people and nature that help viewers think about her subjects in new and unexpected ways. Her years of working in politics taught her the power of a compelling phrase to inspire change and encourage action. Now, she uses her photographs to tell the compelling story, to garner a deeper appreciation and care for the nature world and to speak for those without a voice.
Her formal education, a BA in psychology from University of California and Master’s from Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, trained her to see the heart of the problem and marshal resources and influence to address it.
Eternal, Ephemeral Mojave represents one artist’s experience of being transformed by her ephemerally human experience in an eternal terrain.
The Mojave National Preserve is a landscape of extremes and forms that having been evolving for billions of years, wildflowers that wait 100 years to bloom and live mere days.
The Mojave rewards the patient and the reverent, drawing you into natural rhythms that have remained unchanged for thousands of years.
Art collectors in twenty countries own Bob Killen’s fine art images, and he is one of the most highly sought after, Adobe and Fine Art Photography instructors in America. Bob combines his backgrounds in commercial photography, content development, and marketing processes, with state-of-the-art digital technology to create thematic images that explore western Americana with a vision that is beyond record. His principal work is to connect viewers to the desert landscape and a call for significant creative interaction with our obsession to abandon structures, places and things across a shared American landscape.
Caroline Kwas’ paintings invite you to consider the subtle complexity within the natural world's minutiae and to see the world with fresh eyes. Her vision is exquisitely expressed in her oil paintings depicting her homeland, the windswept, wave sculpted shores of New England. Using oil on panel as her chosen medium, she allows light and shadow and vivid color to reveal a dramatic scene where you least expect it. Her chosen subjects are “intimate landscapes”: they are unique, closely observed macro views that invite the viewer to marvel at the delicate structure of tiny natural objects. As a colorist, she excels at subtle earth tones juxtaposed with bright, jewel-like shouts of intense color. Strength in her compositions was demanded and honed as she strove to create dynamic, energetic paintings of her chosen subjects.
Tom Lowe is an award-winning photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. A graduate of Montana State University, Tom has spent 25 years in the commercial production business, crafting advertisements for leading brands. His photography has been featured in "Photography Masterclass Magazine", "F-Stop Magazine", and Dodho Magazine. He was shortlisted as Photographer of Year at Black & White Magazine and was a finalist, at the Siena International Photo Awards, Siena, Italy. Tom is a former National Park Service Artist-in-Residence, and his resulting self-published book, "Mojave Moonlight", was selected to participate in Boston’s 2014 Photobook International Juried Exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography. His portrait work was recently accepted into the National Photographic competition and exhibition at the Photo Spiva Center For The Arts in Joplin, Missouri and was awarded a Silver Medal at the San Francisco International Photography Exhibition.
Following retirement from his professional legal career, Norman Schwartz returned to his youthful hobby of creating artistic photographic imagery. Schwartz followed the same path with his avocation as with his vocation, education and study enrolling in courses in art and photography at a community college and similar extension courses at UCLA garnering commendations and awards at each.
The photography hobby now occupies much of his time. Attending workshops, seminars and going on weekly outings with camera in hand has become a ritual.
Smart developed an interest in photography 55 years ago and he thought he could avoid the digital revolution. He was, however, forced to “enlist” a few years ago when he became the advisor to the CSUSB Coyote Chronicle, the school newspaper at California State University, San Bernardino where he teaches journalistic writing, public relations, online journalism and journalistic photography. He takes images now with the Fujifilm X-Pro 1, which he believes is one of the finest digital cameras in its class.
Smart has become proficient in the use of Photoshop and teaches composition, and basic Photoshop conversions by private lessons and as an instructor with the Desert Institute, which provides classes in Joshua Tree National Park. He captures fine art images in the Park; he lives a few miles from the West entrance with his wife, Meg, and sells his images at two locations in Joshua Tree and 29 Palms.
Smart is a member of the board of directions of the Foundation. He also has had about half a dozen shows in Santa Ana, Hollywood, 29 Palms, and has been a participant in the La Quinta Art Under the Umbrella programs, eight major street art shows in Old Town La Quinta.
Amateur scientist, professional artist, lover of microorganisms, painter of Protozoa, and general admirer of the natural world, I make paintings based on observed samples of water gathered from many places around the world. I have nicknamed these “cell portraits” and consider them a different way of determining a sense of place. I use the medium of illustration, gouache, gold, and sometimes even salt and soil, to create my art. I’m interested in the microcosmos, the unseen engine of life in our word that keeps creation digesting food, making oxygen, returning to dust, and springing forth anew. From blastocyst to cryptobiotic soil, the world is a continuous cycle of cells.
I am a 2002 Fine Art graduate from the Columbus College of Art and Design. In addition to painting and illustration, I work in user interface design and web design. Originally from rural eastern Ohio, I’m currently based in the shadow of Mt. Rainier in Seattle, WA. I enjoy the beauty, diversity, and promise of the western United States.
Gabriel Thorburn graduated from Northern Michigan University's School of Art and Design and has been living in Los Angeles for the past eight years where he has worked in post-production and as a filmmaker. He was born in a hospital across the street from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (a unit of the National Park Service) and has been inspired by the natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan ever since. Moving to California has increased his love of the outdoors, and he takes frequent trips to remote locations in California's national parks in the Sierras and deserts with his thirty-year-old film cameras and supply of slide film.
Russell Thorburn lives in Marquette, Michigan. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry and the first poet laureate of the Upper Peninsula. He spends time each year visiting his eldest son in Los Angeles. Their dual-media exhibit, "Many Names Have Never Been Spoken Here", interprets the Mojave National Preserve, where they were artists-in-residence. Thorburn’s first noir, "Salt and Blood", is forthcoming from Marick Press, a narrative wired somewhere between Cormac McCarthy and Raymond Chandler, with its cinematic eye on a barren landscape where his characters loom desperate and screen large in L.A. and Mexico. His band Radio On are currently rehearsing songs for performances in the near future that celebrate Levon Helm on his way to heaven, John Renbourn playing guitar in a field on the Scottish border, and Arthur Lee looking down on L.A. with Bela Lugosi from The Castle.
This is an official partnership with the National Park Service to raise funds for the restoration of Kousch Homestead for Mojave National Preserve’s Artist-in-Residence Program, Manage the Artists in Residence Program, and the Desert Light Gallery at the Kelso Visitor Center.
2701 Barstow Road
Barstow, California 92311
13335 Gosling Ct., Unit F
Chino Hills, California 91709