Bonnie Stasser

Photo courtesy of Carrie Towns Photography

I grew up in a family where most if not all the women created a form of art in their lives. Most common between them were beautiful paintings of landscapes or animals that were easily found in the woods of northern Upper Michigan. Not being confined to the elements of oil and canvas still others found their calling with needle and thread or with culinary gifts that could easily compare to the likes of great chefs we might hear about today. And while I was growing, I watched, I observed, and gratefully I learned.

In the late 1970’s I received my first camera, a simple 110 film camera for Christmas. And although I did not have any formal instruction for photography at that time, I practiced as much as I breathed! I loved to try to capture the colors and light of the sunsets across Lake Superior or the waves that crashed up against the shore. It seemed like forever to wait to receive the images back from being processed, and so disappointing if any of them did not turn out as I had hoped. My first honor took place when my Aunt Tynne (considered the best artist in our family) asked if she could use one of my photos for painting a landscape! It was a huge compliment at the age of fourteen.

Fast forward to the year 2000, when I met the man of my dreams. A true Cowboy at heart who owned a ranch, loved the land and the cattle he worked, AND who had taken photography in college; my dreams were unfolding with every step. It was now the “digital” age and thankfully I was able to invest in several digital point and shoot cameras, once again to learn photography anew. I have advanced greatly with the equipment that I use since that time, but when asked about the tools at my disposal, I will always give credit to my mind and my eyes that “see” the “unseen”.

My greatest desire started out to simply record the life of a small family farm that my husband and I have enjoyed. However, once I picked up a camera again, the “Artist” in me started to demand more of a presence in my life. I wanted my work to stand out and be different than anything else I had seen done before, not only to record a moment, but also to give it my very own personal vision. My own twist. Thankfully photography through the years has changed and instead of simply being a “snapshot”, it is now accepted as “Fine Art”.

Photography as Fine Art was a challenge even for me to accept at first. Having grown up with sculptures and painters, and being one myself, I kept asking; how could this image even compare? As I thought on this, I was able to come to a better understanding between the two: Paintings and drawings come from “within” Ones mind and are created on paper or canvas for the world to see. Fine Art Photography is captured by One from “without”, and then translated into their own vision for the world to see. Each has a very personal perspective and each is a part of the Artist who creates the final piece.