The following is a Q&A with Heather Rees, a photographer from Rising Sun.
Cecil County Arts Council: How did you get into art?
Heather Rees: I was blessed to grow up in an environment full of creativity. I also grew up developing a deep appreciation for nature and wildlife. I enjoyed many art courses while attending undergraduate school but ultimately decided to focus my studies on biology and animal behavior. As I progressed in my career I began focusing more and more on the educational aspect of science and eventually became a teacher. Art and creativity played a big role in my classrooms as kinesthetic learning and creative projects always seemed to be the most enjoyable lessons for both my students and myself.
Pairing the development of digital photography, and my love for being outdoors, I began taking photos. I found my images created a new connection, for both myself and my students, to the world around us. Eventually I found myself focusing on raising my own family. Although I was no longer in the classroom environment my passion for wildlife and nature photography continued to flourish and I found it became part of my daily life.
CCAC: What type of art do you create?
Rees: My primary focus is nature photography and most of my subjects are found right here in Maryland (many right in my own backyard!). Since beginning my photographic journey I’ve found enjoyment in creating images with zoom lenses, macro equipment and also creative effect lenses. I often create my own natural textures and painted backgrounds which I add to images giving them a more artistic, often painterly, feel.
CCAC: Who are your artistic inspirations?
Rees: Nature itself is my biggest inspiration! I’ve also met so many amazingly talented local photographers and artists who’ve taught me so much and have become enormous inspirations ( and great friends) in my life. Through social media and the internet I’ve found many niches and artistic groups that have challenged and inspire me to expand my artistic horizons.
I’m a HUGE admirer of Don Komarechka’s fascinating macro work and Denise Ippolito would probably be one of my most admired Wildlife Photography role models. Over the last few years I’ve found that floral photography is really a genre all of its own. Ann Belmont and Jackie Kramer are two floral artists that have definitely become huge inspirations to me in this field.
CCAC: What do you enjoy about your work?
Rees: Photography brings joy to my soul! My heart is happy when I am out discovering and learning about the world around me. I love having the ability to stop a moment in time, with a photograph, allowing me to share interesting things within our beautiful world that may typically go unnoticed.
CCAC: What is your favorite piece?
Rees: I don’t know that I have a specific favorite piece. So many of my images evoke memories of moments that I cherish. Overall I love when I look at an image I’ve created and find something unexpected or that highlights normally unseen details. I also prize images that seem to capture emotion or give a feel for the environment.
CCAC: What would you like to do next?
Rees: One of my favorite things about wildlife, and nature, is that it is so unpredictable. You never know what’s next! I plan to continue shooting as much as possible and hope to develop new skills and photographic techniques. Long term it is my deepest, wholehearted, wish that someday my photography might help inspire others to look at our world in a different way and to appreciate the incredible, often surprising, world in which we live.