I see the world through the lens of an artist... mainly through the medium of photography. People and nature are often the focus of my work with well planned out bodies of work. But another aspect of my creative life is that I am a “challenge“ artist, or differently put, an improv artist and sometimes writer/poet/haiku-ist. I love a creative challenge, often willing to whip up a response to any subject or form... sometimes serious, sometimes just for fun.
At the age of twelve I was given my grandfather's Kodak Retina II, a rangefinder 35 mm camera. It began my exploration of light and composition. I also learned to develop my photos in a darkroom. I grew up, in New England, but after high school travelled to California. There I discovered other photographers like Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Ruth Bernhard, VM Robertson, Alma Warhaftig Lavenson, and Ralph Cooksey-Talbott who inspired me.
I was mainly self taught. But a few key people in my life taught me darkroom techniques. I felt confident enough to apply for a darkroom technician position in a portrait studio in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Concurrently, I started taking courses at Foot Hills and De Anza Community Colleges in Los Altos, CA and eventually graduated from New College at San Jose University. DeAnza had a robust hands-on photo department. Also in the SF Bay area there was a big fine art community in large part due to the presence of Ansel Adams and the Friends of Photography, of which I became a member. I took one of Ansel's Yosemite workshops. I was in awe... Ansel was generous of spirit and very enthusiastic. Yosemite was a totally awe-inspiring backdrop for a classroom. My growing love of the great outdoors paralleled my love of photography.
Now moved to Los Angeles, I found Women in Photography, a fledgeling Los Angeles arts organization and I got in on the ground floor of its organization. By that time I had mounted several small time photo exhibits of my work and was beginning to develop a style and definitely a passion for photography as an artform.
But starving artist only works so long so I began to teach myself commercial photography. I started a studio doing fashion, corporate, commercial head shots and editorial photography.
Concurrently, I studied at California State, Fullerton in their MA degree program in the Art Department and graduated with an MA in Fine Art Photography, 1987... curiously not in commercial photography. I always thought, and still do, that an arts education is the underpinning to any commercial discipline. My graduate exhibition was of a body of work called: Stewards of the Land: Montana Ranchers, their Land and Livestock. It consisted of photos taken on a Widelux camera using Black and White infrared film and excerpts from interviews with the ranchers. This work eventually became part of a traveling exhibition visiting 10 museums and galleries around Montana. Lehigh University also mounted an exhibition.
1987 I moved to Vermont with my family to start a new life far from the city. Rural Vermont reawakened my love of the outdoors I had discovered in Yosemite. For a short while I worked in a photo lab and then started Haymaker Press, my own publishing company (see www.Haymakerpress.com) and my own commercial photography business (see www.Orahmoore.com.) Side by side I pursued photography as a commercial art and as a fine art. I have branched out over the years to embrace various mixed media but always photography is close by. This site is for the fine art part of my life.
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