Kathleen Buckalew

July 22, 2015

Kathleen Buckalew.

Kathleen Buckalew. Photograph by Bonnie Wilson.

What made you interested in becoming a photographer?

I’m from Wilmington, Delaware, born and raised! I lived in Washington, DC, for 13 years before returning. I’ve been taking pictures since I was 12 years old, when my godmother gave me an Instamatic camera. I’ve been the family historian ever since.

What is your favorite subject or location to photograph?

I love photographing a lot of different things: architecture, landscapes, events, portraits, still lifes. I’ve become totally enamored with iPhoneography and using different photo apps. I also do infra-red photography and light painting. I like photographing various local festivals, the Longwood meadow, road trips, and just ordinary things I find in my neighborhood when I walk my dog.

How do you know it is the perfect moment to capture?

It’s a feeling born of years of practice. Sometimes you just see something that amazes you or causes you to stop and say, “Oh!” It’s the light and sometimes it’s the feeling that passes between you and another person. You hope that you captured some of that magic in the camera.

Digital or traditional? Why?

Digital, now, although I came into it kicking and screaming! The best part of digital for me is that I can play and experiment and try all kinds of different things, like moving the camera during the exposure, sliding the barrel of the lens in and out during the exposure, blurring the foreground or background, putting the camera into different positions where I can’t always get to myself (flat out on the ground, in a bed of tulips). I get to do things with digital I would not have done with film because of the expense and the time to get prints.

Why do you like teaching at the Museum?

I love teaching at the Art Museum because the staff is so excited about what they are doing and it rubs off on the Studio instructors! I always get a nice variety of people who come to the class and that makes it interesting.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is to keep it simple and to do as much hands-on teaching as I can. We do field trips in my classes, so I can be right there with them as they shoot and ask questions. I can direct them to look in certain directions, to think about this viewpoint, or to see a line or to look at something in a particular way. I try to give them a good technical background, so they know the difference between shutter speed and aperture. Then we work on the composition, lighting, and feeling in the photographs.

How would you describe your own art?

I would say my own photography is about seeing the wonder and the magic in ordinary, everyday life. That’s why I love showing photos that I’ve taken on a dog walk or photos of the light coming in my kitchen window when I’m getting ready to do dishes. I like to show people they are beautiful through portraits and I also love working on more challenging, light-painting photographs. I hope that I help people to see the beauty that is around them and my photos help them to pay more attention to ordinary things.

For more details about the Museum’s Photography classes and to see what Kathy is offering this semester, click here.

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