Saturday Salon - Anita Bower

'Daylily' © Anita Bower

Following is the third in my once-monthly series of 'Saturday Salons' - where I'll be introducing and sharing the work of other artists who I've met along my journeys here on this great world wide web.

Today - I am thrilled to be interviewing Anita Bower whose beautiful work you can see at Anita's Photoblog.

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"And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

- Marianne Williamson

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Can you tell me what first ignited your creative spark and love of photography?

Photography has been a life-long pleasure.  My father was an amateur photographer who put on wonderful slide-shows. National Geographic provided hours of viewing fun.  I had a Brownie camera as a child and a SLR as an adult.  Having more free time as my son got older and digital photography technology allowed me to become more serious about photography.

You definitely have a particular 'signature' style that is all your own. Can you speak to how it is that this has evolved?

It was not a conscious decision.  My style probably evolved out of being mostly self-taught.  I did take a few courses and workshops to learn the basics, but I then pursued photography at my own pace and in my own way.  I don’t rush to try the latest lens or software, but plod along my own slow path.

The discovery of texture overlays was a significant development.  Textures are so much fun to play with and my textured images have received positive feedback. 

Do you have any favorite artists that you believe  have impacted and influenced your work?

Georgia O’Keefe with her big flowers and colorful canvases.  Ron van Dongen with his simple flower portraits on colored backgrounds.  I am inspired daily by the work shown on-line by many talented photographers.

You have a true gift for cultivating and capturing beautiful flowers - both in your garden..and thru your camera's lens. Is it your love of gardening that has informed your photography..or is it the photography that's prompted you to create a garden?

Thank you.  My love of flowers led me to focus on photographing them.  My mother always had flowers in the house, and I wanted the same, which is why I have a flower garden.  I’m a homebody, so enjoy photographing what is at hand.  I’m an introvert, and flowers don’t require interacting with people. It is a matter of honor with me not to buy flowers to photograph, but to use flowers I grow or which grow in nearby locations.

I've noticed - recently - that you've been documenting an Amish community near to where you live. How is it that they have allowed you into their world with all of your 21st century technology and photo-gear?

Our Amish neighbors built a school just down the road.  I asked them if I could photograph the building process.  They (the bishop in consultation with his wife), agreed so long as I didn’t photograph people so as to be recognizable—to avoid pride.  (I fear I somewhat violated that restriction in my eagerness to document the process.  The children and young people wanted to be photographed.)  I gave the bishop copies of many of the photos I took. 

The Amish have a healthy attitude towards modern technology.  They avoid technology that might tear apart their communities, but use technology that will help them, especially their businesses, without harming their way of life.  For example, they do not have telephones in their homes, but some have a little booth with a phone near a telephone pole so they can make needed calls.

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If interested in being interviewed here in my once-monthly series - please contact me.