The images in our Signature Gallery are the heart and soul of our collection, and they are featured prominently at all of our shows. These photographs include our personal favorites, the images that our clients love best and work that consistently garners praise from festival jurors and judges.
Dream Of Grace
This piece is a companion to Lehi’s Dream, because just as Lehi’s Dream reminds Russell of his mother, this piece reminds him of his father. Arthur was a columnist who covered horse racing, and when we found ourselves at the entrance of a legendary horse farm soon after he passed away, he was very much in our thoughts. At the same time, Angela had been reading from a book of Kentucky poetry. One poem in particular stood out. In Come Forth, a man dreams of the father he recently lost. Like Arthur, the man is described as a ‘knower of horses,’ and though the son worries about his father’s frailty, the men share a tender moment watching the horses in the pasture. Then - unexpectedly - the father leaps astride a horse and from a place of ‘unshadowed excellence’ assures his son that “It’ll be all right.” Under this canopy of maples, in the presence of graceful horses, like the son in the poem, Russell released his worries and felt a growing sense of peace.
“You must not blame me if
I do talk to the clouds.”
~ Henry Thoreau
This intensely textural sky captivates people. For weather fanatics, mammatus clouds are special because they form in sinking air - whereas clouds usually form in rising air. Yet, most people are understandably drawn to the roiling drama that hangs over an otherwise serene pastoral setting. While they often feel an impending doom, these clouds actually form after severe weather, and they are called Messenger Clouds because they signal that the worst has past. Standing below these surreal skies, it wouldn’t have surprised us to hear voices speaking or angels singing.
A Tribute To The Angel Oak
If you’ve ever stood before a magnificent oak and felt transported or moved by something sacred, you are not alone. Oaks have been revered for millennia. It has been said that they have the ability to heal the heart and nourish the soul after times of hardship. Long ago the Irish even used the oak to represent the letter D (Duir) because the literal translation of Duir is door. Many people believed that it was possible to enter the ethereal plains by opening the ‘oak door.’ We love that children - and some adults who have held on to their magical eye - often look at this image and see a secret portal. It’s easy to understand why early Christians built their churches in oak groves. In fact, Saint Brigid, patron of Ireland, built her church beneath an oak and held the tree so sacred that no one dared to harm even a single leaf from it. She even christened her beloved abbey Cill Dara, Church of the Oak.
By chance, we happened upon this happy heard late one afternoon. We worked fast to get a few shots and left this lilvely scene hoping we had captured something special - but with no way of knowing if it was a hit or a miss. Then, in the darkroom, we were rewarded with this SPARK - this excitement - when we realized we had indeed captured something special. For us, discovering that we’d caught an instant that passed too quickly for the eye to really see gave us the exilerating jolt that keeps us coming back to film. Coming Home doesn’t just describe the laughing queen of this herd as she leads her gals in for the night - it also describes the way we feel every time we step in the darkroom.
A horse is the projection of
peoples' dreams about themselves
— strong, powerful, beautiful —
and it has the capability of giving
us escape from our mundane existence.
~ Pam Brown, Equestrienne Poet
The purist of protectors, this noble stallion placed himself between us and his herd as we approached their hill. He remained still - quietly watchful - and only after he determined that we were not a threat did he step aside to let us meet his band of wild mustangs. That moment of acknowledgement and acceptance by a creature of such dignified strength held tremendous significance for us. His guardianship of the herd embodied the courage of the people in our lives we admire most - those who stand resolutely to protect their family, friends, beliefs and values. This image is our tribute to them
Oklahoma - Where the wind comes
sweeping down the plain,
Oklahoma - Where the wav-in wheat
can sure smell sweet, when the wind
comes right behind the rain!
~ Oscar Hammerstein
Obviously, when we pulled over to photograph this blown-about shack on a gusty day, Angela began singing Oklahoma. (That’s probably why the cattle are walking away! ) It’s possible that the people who call the Sooner State home wish their abundant plains could inspire something other than off-key roadside broadway tribute shows, but you have to give Hammerstein credit for celebrating the power of this vast landscape and these endless skies. As the man said, We know we belong to the land - And the land we belong to is grand! Indeed it is, Oklahomans, indeed it is! And this is OUR celebration of your great state!
The Mormon prophet, Lehi, dreamt of a path with a sturdy rail leading to a radiant tree. This wondrous Tree of Life represented salvation, and by holding fast to the rail of faith one could avoid the pits of temptation and despair. When Russell’s mother would tell him this story, the tree represented the deepest dreams of his heart, and by holding fast to the rails he would surely reach the Tree of Life, his very reason for being. Although Lark has been gone for many years, this pastoral scene in Kentucky immediately reminded Russell of his mother and her belief in the power of dreams and perseverance.
Lightning Over The + Four
Sometimes you chase the storm, and sometimes the storm chases you! As much as we enjoy drawing on Russell’s meteorology studies to engage in the occasional storm chase, it still threw us for a loop when we found ourselves stuck by the side of the road somewhere on the Colorado/Utah border with a flat tire. As we waited (and waited and waited) for roadside assistance, a magnificent thunderstorm rolled in and lightning crackled all around us. Yet, while the day had taken what we thought was a horrible turn, it end up being fantastically memorable. There is great beauty in a storm, and we savored every minute of it while we hunkered down by the +/4 Ranch to watch it.
The adventure that brought us to this image makes it one of our favorites. After a long day of photography during which nothing seemed to pan out, we passed this field—and these oaks. While we were shooting, a local kid told us that the two trees in the middle of the sugar cane field survived year after year – through floods and storms and even hurricanes – because their roots were entwined. A single tree standing alone in the field would have been easily felled, but the two that stood together could withstand anything. Enduring Oaks holds a special place in our hearts and speak volumes about what it means to us to build this collection – together.
“The extermination of the buffalo has
been a veritable tragedy of the
animal world. Few indeed are the
men who now have or evermore
shall have, the chance of seeing
the mightiest of American beasts,
in all his wild vigor.”
~ Teddy Roosevelt
In 1853, Russell’s great grandfather traveled to Lehi, Utah; and as we travel similar roads, we often think about his overland journey. Recently, as part of our on-going exploration of his pioneer experience, we spent time photographing buffalo. In the presence of these beasts, we felt powerfully connected to Russell’s family history, and a deeper history, too. Long before the settlers arrived, the buffalo were part of the lifeblood of the plains - yet these creatures were almost decimated by the very western adventures they have come to represent. When we found this bull, his fierce stance and roar gave us chills. Among the many things we felt that misty August morning, we were profoundly grateful that conservationists like Teddy Roosevelt have preserved this sacred, living link to our national - and personal - history.
This ethereal image takes its title from the writings of Aberjhani, a poet who has thoughtfully explored how people manage the transition from imminent personal destruction to almost unfathomable personal victory. We love that this image seems to evoke a similar feeling - that just through the arch of angel wings and beyond the rise of the bridge we can find our greatest joys.
The Irish Brigade
The mournful Irish wolfhound lies at the foot of a Celtic cross honoring the heroism of the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg. Being of proud Irish descent, Angela grew up hearing the story of the three units from New York that had suffered terrible losses but still charged into battle, halting the Confederate troops just as they were about to overtake the Union position. After the war, the priest who dedicated this memorial said that the Celtic cross had been erected to keep memory of the Irish Brigade ‘green in the American Heart’ and to remind future generations of the brigade’s bravery in the ‘great cause of American Liberty.’
Central Park Promenade
This elegant pathway of elms and historic cast-iron lampposts has been a gathering place since the mid 1800s. Once considered 'an open air hall of reception,' in its early days, visitors would have seen stately carriages and pedestrians in their Sunday best socializing and enjoying the luxury of leisure time. Today, visitors from every walk of life cherish this sanctuary of green space; and strolling beneath the canopy of elms remains a timeless, enchanting experience that is quintessentially New York.
There are some things that you learn best in calm, and some
~ Willa Cather
This once-in-a-lifetime-shot dazzles without any explanation, but its value to us is enriched by the many personal strands of our lives it brings together. As an English major, Angela can never pass through Kansas without thinking of Willa Cather, and as a life-long student of science, Russell is irresistibly drawn to storms. Yet the name of this piece actually comes from Russell’s mother, Lark. As the daughter and the mother of artists, Cather’s The Song of the Lark spoke to her soul. Our Lark understood - and passed on to her son - one of the key messages of the book: An artist must master his craft, but ultimately he will be measured NOT by what he creates in the calm of practice, but by what he captures when the storm howls.
Russell grew up in Miami and has spent many years chasing the perfect mangrove shot, yet he never felt that he had really captured their magic. These amazing trees shelter and nourish creatures of the land, the sea and the skies above. For a man who has spent his life studying coastal environments and biology, mangroves are sacred and no ordinary photograph would do them justice. After more than 30 years of effort, as the sun began to set on Anne’s Beach in the Florida Keys, Russell raced along the boardwalk and perched on a slippery rock to finally create the image that turned his vision into reality.
One of the most special people in Angela’s life is her nephew, Collin. He was the first baby of the next generation; and watching his personality take shape has been a great delight. He is a sweet, thoughtful boy with a kind and generous heart. He looks after his grandmother with much tenderness, is infinitely patient with his young cousin when she follows him around and has become quite an avid fisherman. Angela especially enjoys his British quips about feeling ‘peckish’ and his willingness to bow and refer to her as ‘her majesty!’ Above all though, from the time he was very young, Collin has loved cows. As Russell and Angela travel, they always think of Collin when they photograph cattle, and since he identified these for them (they are Black Baldy cows) they decided this image should be named in Collin’s honor!
Russell’s father was a columnist who covered horse racing for the Miami News for more than 30 years, so it’s no wonder that Russell finds himself drawn to the rolling hills and horse farms of Kentucky. Just outside Lexington on an overcast summer day, we came across these two gentle souls. As we wandered and watched, they stayed close to one another nickering and nuzzling from time to time. Then the stars aligned to give us that once-in-a-lifetime image. We were in the right place with camera ready when they lowered their heads and brought them together in a heart- like pose of absolute tenderness. For one incredible moment, the world was just us and these magical Bluegrass Beauties.
This gentle angel watches over Savannah’s most beloved city of the dead, the legendary Bonaventure Cemetery. Poets, song writers, generals and hundreds of souls rest on a bluff above the Wilmington River. For Angela, this image is special for another reason. One of her favorite ‘cemetery stories’ is told in the book, “Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil.” Near this angel is the grave of the tragic poet Conrad Aiken. Toward the end of his life, Aiken spent much of his time at the cemetery, sipping gin and tonics and watching ships sail past. One day, he saw a ship bearing the name Cosmos Mariner. He checked the shipping news to find out where the well-named ship was bound and he found only this: “Cosmos Mariner, Destination Unknown.” Those inspiring, haunting words became the epitaph on the stone bench that serves as his tombstone.