Photographer James Winegar’s ‘Simple Life’
Ryan Summerlin August 20, 2013
James Winegar began photographing horses as a way to spend time with his family.
The Orem resident who was raised in a town outside of Pasadena, Calif., moved to Utah to attend high school and college.
His family was going to move to Utah later. At least that was the plan, Winegar said during an interview with The Park Record.
"They moved to Texas instead, because dad wanted to be a cowboy and the family got into horses," Winegar said. "Towards the tail end of the photography program at Brigham Young University, I wanted to do a project that I could get into, so photographing horses was the best thing I could do was go to Texas and do that. And every time I would shoot, someone from my family would be out with me and would help me."
The project turned into an exhibit called "The Simple Life" that is currently showing at the Kimball Art Center’s Garage Gallery through Sept. 8.
The KAC will host a reception for Winegar on Friday, Aug. 23, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
His works feature close-ups and panoramic scenes that are available in print form or on wood.
"I have always loved working with wood," Winegar said. "One summer I would just build frames in my spare time, so that’s where the idea started."
The photographer wanted to find a different way to print his photos.
"I knew a girl who was doing wood prints and she was doing more photo collage type of work with family portraits," he said. "I contacted her and we figured out a different way to print on wood that worked better with anything that I had done. And the results had a vintage feel to them. So we started working at the shop and came up with the technique."
Winegar likes the effect the wood gives his photos.
"When you print a black-and-white photo onto wood, it doesn’t really work, because wood is such a natural background to begin with," he said. "So I changed the colors a little bit to where it was more brown and white so it would work better with the wood.
"Horses are timeless to me and the wood gives off a brown and white visual," he said. "It gives it a rustic feel and the horses build on that visual."
Vinegar, whose family has a strong background in the performing arts, began taking photos in high school.
"I was in a photography class and had a great teacher who got me into it," he said. "We’d have the last 20 minutes of the class free and I would go to the darkroom and work in the prints. I would also do that during lunch."
Still, Winegar decided to keep photography as a hobby and attended BYU as a business major.
"After a while, I decided to focus on what I loved and I applied for a spot in the photography program," he said.
Winegar primarily is a digital photographer, although he did use the platinum printing method that combined digital and darkroom techniques.
"You make digital negatives and print them in the darkroom," he said. "Then things evolved from there."
When Winegar decided to photograph horses, he knew he had to find his own style.
"I needed to find a way to photograph the horses in a way that hadn’t been done, because a lot of people photograph horses," he said. "I tried to come up with my own spin and view. So I used that opportunity to develop my skill with shooting in natural light.
"I also tried to find a way to show their horses in their beauty," he said.
All of the horses were shot at the Winegar family’s ranch.
"I just love horses in general, so that was fun for me to do this, because I love being around them," Winegar said. "There is something about them, the beauty and physique, that is just amazing."
Winegar’s first exhibit was at BYU, and that’s where the Kimball Art Center discovered his work.
"Jenny Diersen (education director of the KAC) went and saw the show and another friend Madeline Johnson, who worked at the Kimball Art Center at the time, also saw the show," Winegar said. "Maddie helped me meet people here and when Jenny saw the show, they both worked with me to bring the show here. So I got lucky."
Winegar said he is honored to show an exhibit in Park City.
"The whole process of working with the KAC has been great," he said. "When I found out I was going to have an opportunity to show here, I put a lot of work into more wood printings so I would have more to offer than just the digital prints. There are 21 pieces on display and they are all a mix of wood and digital prints."
The Kimball Art Center, 638 Park Ave., will host an artist reception for photographer James Winegar on Friday, Aug. 23, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.kimballartcenter.org . For more information about James Winegar, visit www.jameswinegar.com .