The Photographers: America the Beautiful

American Landscape: Judy Helderman

I have always been fascinated with America the Beautiful. Because of my background in travel – working with writers while at the Texas Tourist Development Agency and serving as travel editor for Southern Living Magazine for a decade, it only made sense for me to include a heavy dose of historic and scenic America on the Caleb and Linda Pirtle Website.

As we come to the end of year one, we at Caleb and Linda Pirtle have been fortunate to work with some of the nation’s most talented photographic artists. Their work has given life and vibrancy to our endeavor.

Autumn Lane: Frank C. Etier

Frank C. Etier was born in Louisiana. He spent most of his adult life in Baton Rouge, eventually splitting his time between Baton Rouge and Gulfport, Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina sent him in search of a safer harbor, which he found in Western North Carolina.

With an eye for the unusual found within the usual, Etier has been involved with photography for many years. A fan once remarked, “Give him an acre and he’ll find a million inspirations.” Hoping that there are others who like what he sees through his viewfinder and who will support his interests, Etier is seldom found without his camera.

Big Bend Sphinx: J Gerald Crawford

J Gerald Crawford possesses the eye of an artist and the instincts of a photojournalist. He served for three decades as chief photographer for Southern Living Magazine and B.A.S.S. publications, traveling the backcountry of America in search of landscapes and portraits that portrayed the life and times of both rural and urban America.

Crawford has finally settled down to create the kind of artistic impressions that he always wanted to showcase with his photographic talents.

Hay Under Fiery Sky: John English

John English is a former professional baseball player with the Houston Astro’s/Colt .45’s organization. He has always had an interest in art but decided to try making a living as a professional athlete. After three baseball seasons a shoulder injury ended his career.

Interested in all facets of photography, John soon began photographing wildlife and nature. Through his photographs, John enjoys sharing his vision of the beauty in nature surrounding us all and the need for habitat conservation for all wildlife.

Clearing Storm: John Sedgwick

John Sedgwick does not photograph scenes, although his scenes are often haunting and always filled with passion, emotion, and vibrant color. John Sedgwick photographs light.

He says, “Our world, both inner and outer, overflows with artistic opportunity. I find that my imaging changes with my mood or where I am and what light presents me. I have often thought that my best images found me. They were there all along and just waiting for me to respond to the dancing light inviting me in to explore and create.

The Runaway: Judy Helderman

Judy Helderman, even from the beginning, found herself surrounded by cameras and pictures that captured vivid insights into the soul of mankind and the landscape upon which the world lived at large.

When she became an artist, Judy traveled every spare minute she could escape. She says, “I traveled all over the world, and a good part of every day was spent with my camera. I wanted to take home the sights I saw. I wanted others to see the sights I saw. The camera held my emotions and my experiences.” In each image, she always saw a story.

American Basin: William Ervin

William Ervin has devoted the past two decades to driving and hiking his way through some of America’s most beautiful and haunting landscapes. The vistas and the sights he witnesses always amaze him. The vistas and the sights he witnesses always amaze him. They are always changing. The time of day, the angle of the sun, the weather, both good and bad, the shifting seasons continually make a difference.

Ervin points out, “I want to capture the feeling of seeing, to share the excitement of being there in all of that beauty, to preserve the magic of a fine moment. Sometimes, I come close.”

Sepia Dawn: Cathy Marshall

Cathy Marshall’s images are all about that “oooh oooh” moment ­– when you stop in your tracks and see something you just have to share with the person next to you, or capture — as a unique slice of time.

She says, “Usually that moment involves the special way light plays on a body of water, like glistening diamonds on a lake, or a sunrise thru the trees, or swans taking off through the mist rising after a cooling night. Often, it intersects with nature and a lone animal or individual lucky enough to share its space.

“ I love those moments of transcendence…a solitary, fleeting image of tranquility that may disappear in an instant.  I also love color and the graphic play of light on objects manmade and found, randomly tossed together serendipitously.”


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