Saturday, June 16, 2007

Guy Weese: Witnessing Life's Spiritual Moments

Writer's Notes: Although I had met Guy Weese many years ago when he was managing the Dot Dotson store on East 11th, we had never before had more than a brief conversation about his photography. What I learned during my interview with him about his love of photography and how he views his art made me wish I hadn't taken so long to have an extended conversation with him about his work.

On the wall in his living room was an amazing photo of Mt. Everest as well as other photos of his visit to Nepal and India in 1995. Also in the room were more "Mickey Mouse's" than I'd ever seen in one place (I'll tell you about them when I interview Deborah Weese in the future). Guy and I sat down and had a wide-ranging conversation about the art of photography and his fascination ("obsession, compulsion") to take photos of this amazing world we live in.

For Guy, photography is a spiritual practice. Through the lens of his camera, he sees sacred places and the spirit of the human beings he photographs. He loves to "capture the moment" to show people something they have never seen before. When he showed me one of his portfolios of photos from his travels, I saw many places and perspectives of the familiar that I had never seen.

After the interview, we took several of his photos to the backyard -- a paradise of the largest bamboo (a small forest!) I had ever seen and what must be the biggest palm tree in Oregon. The scene was like walking into a garden in southeast Asia ... with paths leading to a pond with a small bridge over it (complete with a live cat snoozing on the bridge!) ... a statue of Buddha amidst large blades of grasses ... and beneath the huge palm tree, a statue of Jesus. We placed several of his photos within this "scene" and I took photos of Guy in the garden and amidst the timber-sized bamboo.

It was a difficult place to leave but I was running late for another appointment, so we stepped by into the house and Guy's computer room where he does most of his photo "processing" these days. He has fully embraced digital photography and his darkroom has gone unused for over five years.

Since winning a "best in show" at the Lane County Fair a few year's ago (which got his photo to the Oregon State Fair), Guy has been invited to judge photography for the local county fair as well as others in the state. He's also been a mainstay with the PhotoZone Gallery for nearly all of the photography collective's existence -- promoting the group's juried shows and other events over the years.

I look forward to seeing more of Guy Weese's photos (two are currently on display at the art center) and to viewing photos done by many talented photographers who are displaying their work in the Jaqua Mezzanine Gallery at the Emerald Art Center through July 29th.

ore of Guy Weese's photos follow the newspaper article.

Featured in the Springfield Beacon (June 20, 2007)

50 Artists: 50 Years of Art in Springfield

Celebrating arts and culture in our community

By Todd Peterson
For The Beacon

Guy Weese
Witnessing Life's Spiritual Moments

For over 30 years, Guy Weese has been taking photography "seriously" while not taking his role as a photographer too seriously. What his eyes see and what his photos clearly express is his "attitude of gratitude" for everything he photographs.

Guy considers each photo he takes a celebration and an appreciation of life. For him, taking a photograph is "a moment of worship to the beauty and wonderment of our amazing world."

Over the years, Guy has taken many photos of his travels to Mexico, Nepal, India, and throughout the western U.S. He considers the best place on "dry land" to photograph is Utah and especially, Goblin Valley, with its mushroom shaped rocks. Closer to home (and wet), he likes a place on Cape Arago which he personally named "Canyon Beach", not to be confused with that other Oregon beach that sounds much the same.

Along with his wife, Deborah (an artist herself who I'll interview in the future), Guy has also photographed weddings over the past 16 years. He likes to be involved in wedding photography because, unlike many other photo situations, the people really want to have their picture taken.

Active in the Emerald Art Center for over four years, Guy Weese serves as first vice president of the Board of Directors. He has been very active since 1989 with PhotoZone Gallery, a local collective dedicated to fine art photography (Their 19th Juried Show will be held at the Emerald Art Center from July 3 - 29th).

As a photographer who spent years working in his darkroom, Guy has fully embraced digital photography and now enjoys working with photos on his computer. Photography is an art form that offers greater creative opportunities today than ever before.
In his own words:

Inspiration To Begin: "In 1973 I bought my first focusing camera while studying photography at Ohio State. Reading the history of photography and seeing the work of early masters -- Edward Weston and Edward Steichen especially -- led me to take photography seriously. My interest in photography accelerated when I learned to 'see' and not just 'look' at things."

Important Mentors: "Among the masters, reading Edward Weston's Daybooks written in the 1920's and 30's really opened my eyes to photography as an art form. Ted Orland at the U. of O. who printed photos for Ansel Adams was a big influence. And Jerry Uelsmann, whose workshops I attended at Yosemite, was an excellent teacher and a 'magician' in the darkroom."

Value of Art in Life: "Photography has been a visual diary for me. There are lots of spiritual elements to it ... to capturing a moment ... a moment that's here, then gone (and not repeatable ever again). It's a mysterious way of 'capturing time'. When people see photos at the Emerald Art Center, hopefully they will appreciate the world more and when they visit new places, will leave only 'footprints' and take their own photos to enjoy at home."

His Artist's Legacy: "I'd like my photos to be available for people to see and appreciate, either on a website or in printed form. I've got lots of work to do to get thousands of images organized! Ultimately though, years ago I stopped taking photos for several months to learn why I do this ... and realized that I take photographs for me. And, if others like them ... that's great!"

For more information about Guy Weese and to see additional images of his photos, visit the blog: and the art center's website:

"South Sister Summer Sunset" by Guy Weese

About The Artist

Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio

Arts Education: Ohio State University, University of Oregon, and many photography workshops

Media of Choice: Digital Photography

Favorite Place to Shoot Photos: Cape Arago, Oregon and Goblin Valley, Utah

Favorite Subjects to Photograph: Landscapes and people (interesting images people have never seen before)

Arts Organizations: Emerald Empire Arts Association and PhotoZone Gallery

Currently Showing: Photo exhibit at Emerald Art Center (through end of July)


# # #

All photo images are copyright of the artist.

"Crater Lake Winter" by Guy Weese

"Tower Kiva" by Guy Weese

"Mazes Edge" by Guy Weese

"Urban White Buffalo" by Guy Weese