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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

photo by Jeff Brooks-Manas
Q & A Interview
with Jeff Brooks-Manas
by ginny mangrum
Jeff is one of our local art photographers working in Contra Costa County who is exhibiting pieces in the Walnut Creek Library exhibition in July.  Let me take this time to thank you Jeff for taking the time to talk to me about your beautiful landscape work. I know everyone will enjoy it who visits the library this summer. 

Q: So Jeff, how long have you lived in Contra Costa County?

A:  I’ve lived in Contra Costa for 17 years, mostly in Walnut Creek. I love being able to go to San Francisco, but I need the open space.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself such as; your interest in art photography?

A:  I love shooting landscapes. There are so many beautiful subjects, and they’re so accessible. We are fortunate to have so much park land – City, Regional and State – so close to us. I enjoy sharing my corner of the world, through social media. I have also had some of my work printed on local agency calendars, and in print ads.

Q:  What did you like the most about shooting in Contra Costa County?

A:  I have come to know the seasons and the light, so I know when to go to my favorite spots, and capture my favorite scenes – sunrises, sunsets, waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife, green hills, etc. I enjoy looking outside at the clouds, or seeing where the sun may go down, and finding a spot to go capture the scene. I know how long it takes me to get to my favorite spots. I know how to walk back in the dark, and I feel safe doing it.

Q:  How long have you been doing it?  Discoveries? What you like best about it?

A:   I’ve been shooting for 3 ½ years, in earnest. That’s when I got a DSLR – a Nikon D40. I guess that my only discovery is how much I enjoy photography. Not just the shooting, but the post-processing. I work in IT, and I’ve met a lot of photographers who are IT people. I’m not sure if there’s a connection. My favorite part of photography is that it gets me outside.

Q:   Anything else personal you think you would like to share that might connect to your art and art making process.

A:  I have had a life long love of nature. Photography has been a great way to save some of the beauty, and share it.

Q: Please give me your artist statement for this series of work.

A:  All of the photos I have in the show are of places that are within 15 minutes of home, and I visit them frequently. Beauty is everywhere, as long as you are open to see it. You can also see something unique in a scene that you have been by several times. It’s all about slowing down, and being present.

Q: Can you please expand upon your statement by saying more about your process meaning the experience while shooting and printing considerations.  

A:  When I’m out hiking, I try to be aware of the sights and sounds. A great piece of advice I received from a photo instructor, is that you should always look around 360 degrees, no matter what your intended subject. While looking at a sunset, you might miss the alpenglow behind you. I try to remember to do that, and often catch things that I would have missed. Awareness of sounds has helped me capture wildlife.

Q:  How does this series relate or did it influence your current work?

A:  The photos that were selected for this show, remind me that I need to remember to look for beauty wherever I am. I love to go to Yosemite, but I can’t get there more than 3 or 4 times a year. As many times as I go someplace, whether it’s once a week, or once a year, I try to keep my eyes open.

Q:  Would you like to continue to make and exhibit art in Contra Costa County if there are opportunities?

A:  I would like that very much.

Thank you Jeff for sharing your time with us! 



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