My love for photography runs deep. Exploring the mountains of my native Utah as a youngster drew my interest in taking pictures with a handy 110mm film pocket camera. I wanted to capture the beauty so I could share with my family. Spending time in nature truly impacted my attitude as an teen and continues to this day.
When I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 8, my parents promptly enrolled me into summer camp, a whole week of fun and learning with other youngsters who also had this terrible disease. Many camp counselors and medical professionals helped guide me in my new path of life. In fact, camp truly began my journey of grit and determination that has come to define my life.
As a young camper, I remember racing through an obstacle course when suddenly I stumbled and bashed my knee during the course. Yet I picked myself up — painfully sobbing in tears — and finished the race. The next morning during breakfast, awards were announced. My name was called for "most determined to finish the obstacle course." That was a proud moment, and it’s still true to this day. I am still just as determined to move forward. It’s who I am, for where would I be, or any of us for that matter, if we stop moving forward?
Fast forward into adulthood – and I’m a commercial roofer, still enjoying the great outdoors, but now from a new perspective. I could gaze above the ever-changing landscape throughout the western United States. Being outdoors with many views, served to fuel my passion for photography. Through the years, countless photos continued to inspire and build my portfolio.
It wasn’t until 2005 that I took a basic photography course at Salt Lake Community College. Despite my diminishing vision due to Diabetic Retinopathy, I had an "eye" for photography that had been developing since my youth. I finally bought my first DSLR camera and my photography talents further matured. The fundamentals of operating the many functions inside a camera began to settle in. Since then, it’s been trial and error, with phases of terrible failure and epic success. Digital technology allows for endless compositions of photography. These advances have become highly valuable as my eye-sight is further hindered due to complications of Diabetic Retinopathy. Tiny blood vessels in my eyes hemorrhage causing floaters, blurred vision and loss of sight in my right eye. Fortunately, my left eye is without the extensive damage as my right.
There's a saying: "The more light that shines, the less the wise owl sees." I can relate. The glare of light or white makes it very difficult, if not impossible for me to see. White writing on a black background is easier to see, but black writing with a glaring white background is difficult to read. Details are difficult to see when there is little contrast. This happens at dawn, or dusk, when the light is limited and flat. When it's dark, I must rely on memory and my instinctive nature of which camera function is required to capture the scene before me. Fumbling through the many settings and knobs on a professional camera isn't easy. Repeated practice and familiarity comes in handy at the most opportune moments.
Today, I use art and photography as a way to move forward and release the common obstacles of life. I’m a purist with my art leaving the scene as real and natural as possible is my goal. I’ve even started building the frames which surround my photos, using natural elements. While travel has become difficult and less frequent I’m always determined to find that special sunset reflecting on a silky smooth lake or the small stream trickling on a dismal day.This natural beauty inspires me and fills my spirit.
I hope you discover that same inspiration as you view my art.
- Darryl Wilkinson