Most of us move through our daily lives merely “looking”, that is, using our eyes simply for the practical task of completing our daily routines without too much drama. We rarely really take the time to SEE the many miracles that are constantly unfolding before us. In this sense, photography has been a gift of “sight” in that it has forced me to engage my senses on a much deeper level than ever before. I feel like I have embarked on a very rewarding and, indeed, endless journey to make myself really SEE as much of the world and all of its amazing details as I can before my lights eventually go out.
Perhaps it is the duality of my personality (being a Gemini maybe?), but I find myself often moving simultaneously in opposite directions with my images–sometimes it is the grandiosity of a scene that moves me to create an image. Or, it could be the hidden, macro abstract within the ordinary that captures my eye.
Sometimes I am attracted to the human cacophony of the street and city. Other times I prefer to lose myself alone in the wilds of the natural environment–the mountains, especially, or the sea. Sometimes it is the beauty…at other times it is the ugliness. Yin and yang. There is no beauty without its opposite.
Regardless of the direction my eye might move, my goal is to capture in a single still frame a unique moment or story–whether it be in the city or in the wilds of the back country–that can be converted into a fine art photographic print.
Although color will sometimes shout out to be included in a composition, I generally prefer monochrome conversions as they tend to help me focus on what I consider the essential compositional elements and, therefore, the ultimate message and mood behind the image.
My most satisfying landscape/cityscape photographs are those that focus on the details of the scene in more of an abstract form that can sometimes result–for the viewer–in a slightly confusing perspective initially. Sometimes it is the sum and subtlety of these abstract details that gives the viewer a deeper understanding of the whole.
Although I very much enjoy the meditative process involved with creating interesting landscapes, cityscapes, and abstracts, I have lately started focusing my energy on specific themes or projects. I feel like this is pushing my photography to a whole new level as I try my best to add my visual commentary to such critical debates as the impact of uncontrolled growth on the environment (The Colorado Front Range – A Neo-Topographic Essay), the effects of our current economic and political system on individuals (Western Civilization 102), or the role and condition of women in the world today (Ghost Women). See the Galleries tab for my latest work on these projects.
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My first exploration into the world of photography occurred in the late 60s or early 70s as a curious, snotty-faced pre-teen with unkempt hair and too-short trousers as I tried to tape a Brownie box camera to the eyepiece of my Sears telescope to get pictures of the Moon. Blurry, white blobs were the result, but it was all very exciting nonetheless.
Later, throughout my younger years, I nearly always had a camera with me as I and my friends explored the myriad mysteries of the magical big-sky American Southwest—we hiked and ran the trails, challenged ourselves with cross-state long-distance treks, climbed the cliffs and mountains, explored the slot canyons, skied when the winter snows arrived and even spiraled up over the Painted Desert in our hang gliders, lifted by booming thermals to cloud base.
Along the way, I did learn a bit about basic photographic composition, f-stops and depth-of-field control, but I really never advanced beyond that. For me, at that time, the camera was mainly useful for recording our adventures and experiences. Even during my five years as a public high school history teacher and my 21-year career as an Air Force officer and pilot, the camera only came to the fore on fleeting occasions. Likewise, I stayed largely by the sidelines as the digital revolution swept by.
It wasn’t until 2009, when my wife and I spent a year in her home city of Barcelona did I finally become “born again” in the visual and photographic sense. With a hand-me-down 6-megapixel Nikon D70 DSLR, a gift from my photographer brothers, and the stimulus of a dynamic European city awaiting my shutter finger, I found myself “seeing” again and my passion for photography was reignited. I find it an excellent meditative exercise, an excuse to keenly observe places, things, and people, and, ultimately, a way to immerse myself deeply into this strange life as we know it on this planet.
I expect this play with photography to be a life-long journey—a never-ending voyage of discovery—and I intend to enjoy every minute of it!
Awards, Presentations, and Juried Shows
St. Stephens Juried Art Show, Longmont, CO; Judge: Murth Murthy; 1st place in traditional photography with “Faith and 83 Years”.
Louisville Art Association National Juried Photography Show, Louisville, CO; Judge: Russ Burden; three images selected with one image, “Faith and 83 Years”, placing 3rd in the B&W category. Over 500 images were submitted to this show with 92 selected for participation.
Louisville Art Association National Juried Photography Show, Louisville, CO; Judge: Glenn Randall; one image selected, “Flatirons Sunrise Sky”, which earned 3rd place in the B&W Architecture and Landscape category. 694 images from 150 different photographers were submitted for this show with about 100 images from 48 photographers selected for participation.
Boulder County Open Space “Land Through the Lens” Juried Photography Show at Boulder, Colorado’s Dairy Center for the Arts; Two images selected: “Late Autumn on the Farm” and “Sunrise Over Boulder County”. Out of 350+ images submitted, 109 images from 57 photographers were selected for participation in this exhibit.
Two images selected for the St. Stephens Juried Art Show, Longmont Colorado: “Fractured” and “The Preacher”. Judge: Marie Bush.
Louisville Art Association National Juried Photography Show, Louisville, CO; Judge: Dan Ballard; one image selected, “Brainard Lake Reflection #7”.
Louisville Art Association National Juried Photography Show, Louisville, CO; Judge: Joseph Roybal; one image selected, “Fifty Years Later”.
One of six photographers to show and discuss their street photography at the Lyons Cinema and Photography Art Center in Lyons, Colorado (April 19, 2014).
One of the four photographers from the Photography for a Change program selected to exhibit prints of their work at the National Center for Atmosheric Research (NCAR) gallery in Boulder, Colorado; December, 2014 through January, 2015.
Two displays (11 photographs total) at Coal Creek Physical Therapy, Louisville, Colorado and at North Boulder Physical Therapy, Boulder, Colorado. April 1 through June 30, 2015.
Louisville Art Association National Juried Photography Show, Louisville, CO, May 31 – June 7, 2015; 863 images submitted with 100 accepted; Judge: Eli Vega; four images invited: “Distant Contrail”, “Elephant Buttresses, Winter”, “Royal Arch Disorientation”, “Sunrise, Sawhill Ponds” (all monochrome).
The Darkroom Photography Gallery, Longmont Colorado, “The Interpretive Landscape” Show, June 12 – July 25, 2015; Judges: Wesley Jessup (Director of the Longmont Museum) and Matthew Jonas (Photo Editor, Longmont Times-Call; Three images selected: “Altar to the Gods”, “Full Gospel Preacher”, “Sunrise, Sawhill Ponds” (Honorable Mention Award).
Boulder County Open Space “Land Through the Lens” Juried Photography Show at The Great Frame Up Gallery in Longmont, Colorado; August 14 – September 3, 2015; Two images selected: “Sun, Cloud, and Contrail” and “Sunrise, Sugarloaf Mountain”, the latter earning the Commissioners Choice Award thus selected to be purchased and displayed at Boulder County offices.
Nine local landscape works exhibited in a four-photographer show at The Darkroom Gallery, Longmont Colorado; August 14 – September 15, 2015. The other photographers in the show: Karen Adler, Brian Killigrew, and Debbie Adams.
Image (“Approaching Inferno”, 2014) selected for display at the Fort Collins (Colorado) Center for Fine Art Photography. show Landscapes, May 6 through June 10, 2016. Juror: Natasha Egan, Executive Director, Columbia College Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL.
The Darkroom Photography Gallery, Longmont Colorado, “Architecture-Structure-Form” Show, June 10 – July 31, 2016; Juror: Kate Zari Roberts; One image selected: “The Great Escape” (Honorable Mention Award).
One of six artists selected out of 75 applicants as a Boulder County 2016 Artist-in-Residence, Caribou Ranch Open Space, August 24 – September 3.
Four images selected for display in The Darkroom Gallery’s juried show, Winter Light, Longmont, Colorado, December 9-31, 2016. Jurors: Wesley Jessup, Executive Director, Longmont Museum and Cultural Center, Kevin Holliday, Owner, Kevin Holliday Photography and internationally recognized/ awarded fine-art photographer, and Julie Cardinal, Executive Director/Curator of The DARKROOM, Longmont, Colorado.
Three images juried in to the Humanity show at Bin 46 in Longmont, Colorado: “Marvelous Matrimony”, “Faith and 83 Years”, and “395 Years”. Show dates June 9 through July 29, 2017. Jurors: Julie Cardinal and Maureen Ruddy Burkhart.
Images used for storefront publicity pamphlet, TecnoPubli, Vía Augusta 97, Barcelona, Spain.
Publicity image (printed enlargement) used in commercial restaurant, Pa, Degustació i Delicatessen, Carrers Vallirana i Numancia, Barcelona, Spain.
Image used in newspaper sports article, “Tooke Completes 375-mile Bicycle Race”, March 19, 2011, Del Rio News Herald.
Images used for front and back of book cover, Unfinished Business by Dex Tooke, AuthorHouse, 2012.
Images from front and back book cover of Unfinished Business used to create a Dex Tooke “Hometown Hero” poster kiosk at Plaza del Sol Mall, Del Rio, Texas.
One of four photographers selected to display work on the Photography for a Change virtual art gallery during the months of April and May. A unique online concept, print sales from this website go to support two non-profit organizations: Western Resource Advocates, a regional environmental organization dedicated to protecting the West’s land, air and water, and Attention Homes, a safe resource for youth in crisis providing shelter, structure, and access to crucial services so that homeless and displaced youth can become stable, independent members of our community and achieve their potential.
Five images selected for use in the Western Resource Advocates Annual Report. Images: “Yellowstone River, Sunrise, #4”, “Maroon Bells Peaks, Fall Classic”, “Mesa Arch View, #4”, “Landscape Arch, Sunrise & Moon”, “Eldorado Springs Canyon, Winter, #2”.
Multiple Colorado landscape images selected and licensed for use in Colorado State University’s online Colorado Encyclopedia Project publication.
One of twenty-eight photographers selected as a 2016 Black & White Magazine Spotlight Award Winner. Interview and sample work to be published in Black & White in the June, 2017 issue. The portfolio chosen was “An Orwellian New York“.
Image selected for publication in Quest for Respect (Intotemak, Spring 2017), a publication of the Mennonite Church of Canada. The purpose of the publication is to nurture “indigenous-settler relations”. Image selected: “The Power Place” (Navajo Nation, Arizona, 2016).
Center for Fine Art Photography, Ft Collins, CO
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Flatirons Photo Club, Boulder, CO
Colorado Nature Camera Club, Boulder, CO
Boulder Digital Arts, Boulder, CO
Boulder County Arts Alliance, CO