Alex E. Wells
I first discovered photography through our junior high photography club. Mom was supportive and let me use her precious German SLR she'd picked up while traveling through Europe in the 1950s. Compared to the modern cameras of the time, it was old and clunky but it did the job just the same. We used Kodak tri-x film for it's ease of use in our rudimentary darkroom set-up and I had moderate success.
Working all summer at a local dairy farm, I eventually saved enough to buy a Super 8mm movie camera. I cannot remember the model but I insisted on one that could do stop-action. I animated a lot of crazy stuff and inserted fiery gasoline explosions whenever possible. In the Star Wars era, I wanted to get into special effects in a big way. It was a brief (and dangerous) exploration into the world of filmmaking.
More recently I joined the digital revolution. While traveling throughout India, I experimented while exploring everything from the dark recesses of Chandni Chowk to the wide expanses of Ranthambore National Park. India was eye-opening and reignited my photography flame. Back home in Central Oregon, I continue to pursue the elusive perfect image.
Photography is a way to share a mood. It is relatively easy to mecanically capture a scene; but capturing a scene with emotion is my goal. Like a song, a photograph must resonate with the viewer to have lasting impact.
Aerial work is especially challenging but also immensely satisfying. As a pilot, I want to share the free feeling of flight. As much as possible, I want others to sense that freedom; to see the earth from the unique perspective of 500 feet. Conditions must be just right to fly, handle the camera, and capture and an emotional scene of beauty. When it all comes together, it's magical.
I have had the pleasure of twice being the in-house photographer at a traditional American summer camp. Possibly nothing is better than being surrounded by young campers and seeing their wide-eyed enthusiasm for life. The experience of using my camera to freeze that joy was priceless. Even now, years later, I occasionally use my page "Summer Camp" as an elixir for my spirits. It works every time.