Moab Happenings Archive
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Developing Photographic Style to Tell Stories with Pictures
By David L. Brown
Photographer David Barnes is pictured photographing the view from the top of Long Canyon, near Dead Horse Point.

Just as in writing, music or any other creative endeavor, the most successful photographers develop their individual style. It starts with the choice of subject. Some like to shoot pretty scenes while others seek the excitement of sports action. In the genre known as street photography, the subjects are the people and places found in the cities of the world. Yet another seeks to capture images of wild animals or birds in their natural environments.

A good friend of mine, David Barnes, has enjoyed a long career as a travel and landscape photographer. Although he ended up as a still photographer, he started his training by earning a B.A. at the fabled Film School at Southern Cal, where he was a classmate of George Lucas. This was followed by two years of study at the LA Art Center College of Design.

David’s inspiration comes from within. “It does not satisfy me merely to make pretty pictures,” he says. “I need for my camera to create images that stir my soul. I think of my photographs as ways of telling stories that reveal universal truths. For example, I capture a picture of a little boy on the beach, following his father as he walks toward the surf. To me this evokes thoughts of how a boy figuratively follows in his father’s footsteps, growing to fill his father’s shoes as an adult himself.”

The Seattle skyline seen across the bay with silhouettes of people enjoying the view.

I made the featured color picture of David photographing the scene from the top of Long Canyon during a visit he made to Moab a few years ago. After spending years working and living in Europe he is settled in Seattle where he documents the day-to-day activities of this thriving city. He loves the look of black-and-white and uses a monochrome Leica camera for that work. These examples were posted on his Facebook page.

Whether photographing a happy man with his dogs, a ballet dancer on the beach, or a father and son along the water, David’s training in composition is apparent in all his work. The photograph of a raven on a park bench is composed in classic style and the fog gives it a mystical look.

“I am fortunate to earn my living doing what I love,” David says. “My cameras have provided me with an endless chain of experiences, including the chance to live and work abroad. Wherever I have gone I have shared memorable moments, learning new ways of living while capturing the truth of what I discover through my photography.”

David loves to photograph people. This subject was captured sharing a happy moment with his dogs. A father and son walking along the edge of the sand. David seeks truths in the images he makes. A foggy day, the looming silhouette of a tree, and a raven create a mystical scene.


David L. Brown is a landscape photographer who has led photo tours from his base in Moab since 2015, now as Printworks Photo Tours. His fine art prints can be seen at Printworks Gallery, 1105 S. Hwy. 191. He invites you to visit or call at 435-355-0121.

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