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Community Highlight: Scott Withers

Who: Scott Withers

Location: Aurora, Oregon

Flickr Page:

Artist Statement: Primarily a mountaineer and a rock climber, I love to hike and explore all corners here in the Northwest. I've been doing photography since 1992 and more seriously over the past 10 years. I enjoy doing landscapes when I'm out climbing or hiking, but I prefer urban shots and abstracts involving more of my creative side. Sadly however people know me for landscapes, so these are often overlooked.

What motivates your photography? It’s the passion for being outdoors. Whether solo or with friends, the mountains seem to call me to them. I try to capture the feeling in that moment. Sometimes it's the light reflecting from a glacier, or the textures of a canyon wall that inspires me to keep coming back. Weather is also a big motivator. When most people shy away from bad or extreme weather, I find opportunity. These elements tend to bring in some of the best shots, mainly snowstorms and dense fog.

Who/what is your biggest artistic influence? My two biggest artistic influences are Carleton Watkins and Benjamin Gifford. Both are considered pioneers in NW photography. Watkins was here from California in the 1870's and 1880's. He focused on the Columbia River and its transportation with the Oregon Rail and Navigation Company. Benjamin Gifford was a little more free to explore the areas around him. Located in the Dalles at the turn of the last century, he tended to shoot everything from the summit of Mt. Hood and surrounding locations in the Columbia River Basin. His photos capture a moment in time that few other photographers of his time could do. I've been collecting his original photographs for about 15 years now. Seeing them in their original printed form makes you really appreciate his craftsmanship to the art.

Where was the last place you went on vacation? My most recent travels took me to India where I spent a month and a half exploring. I started in Hyderabad and worked my way north. I spent most of my time in Kashmir in the Karakoram and Himalayan Mountains, while straddling the Pakistan, China, and Tibetan boarders. It was the journey of a lifetime. Out of all the places in the world I have travelled to, I would considering it the one of the most breathtaking places in the world. Most people don't think of India as having high peaks. However there are many over 20,000 feet, and has the 3rd highest in the world named Kanchenjunga at 28,169 feet.

Favorite quote?

“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.”

— Steve McCurry

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