Main Street’s David Beavis Gallery captures the moment
March 31, 2016
David Beavis was 12 when his parents gave him and his two brothers identical cameras on a trip to Europe and told them to shoot whatever they wanted.
His talent, even then, was apparent.
"My parents tell me that as soon as they looked at all our pictures, they knew there was something different about mine," he said. "I think it’s something where you either have an eye for it or you don’t."
What started when he was 12 quickly turned into a passion, and later a career. Eventually, it brought him to Park City, where he has fulfilled a lifelong dream of creating his own gallery. David Beavis Gallery, at 314 Main St., opened in December and features photos Beavis, who hails from Australia, has taken around the world.
"It’s an awesome feeling," he said. "The first night when everything was hung, I was sitting here all alone, looking at it, and I got quite emotional. It was like, ‘Here we are.’"
Beavis often attempts to convey the beauty and peace of simple scenes in his art. Inspiration often strikes him when he’s driving by a picturesque spot, urging him to pull over and capture the moment. He hopes his photos resonate with people and makes them feel as though they’re standing where he was when he shot them. He aims to have an element in each photo that is special.
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He said his art connect with two kinds of buyers: Those who have been to where the photo was shot and want to preserve a memory, and those who simply fall in love with a piece.
"My motto is ‘Inspiration for your bucket list,’" he said. "I want it to be inspiring to people."
Beavis believes it is his unique perspective that makes his art stand out. He’s not sure where it came from, or what, exactly, it is that his eyes see differently than other artists, but it’s a natural gift — and one that allows him to disregard some of the dogmas photographers are often bound by.
"I’ve never once looked into the camera and thought, ‘Have I got the rule of thirds into place?’" he said. "I shoot whatever my eye sees. If it looks good, it looks good. Forget the rules. I mean, who wrote the rules anyway? Just some dude who thought it looks cool. Well it might for that image, but it doesn’t mean it’s got to apply to every single image."
Ironically, Beavis failed a class about the theory of photography when he was a teenager. But it didn’t dissuade him from following his passion. Everything came into focus when he took a job at a camera store.
"In the first half-hour working at the camera shop, it clicked and I thought, ‘That’s all it was?’ I was trying to understand aperture and shutter speed, and the way I was taught at school, I just didn’t get it. The guy at the camera shop just opened the camera up and said, ‘There is it — it just opens and closes.’ It connected."
Later, he began shooting professionally as a photojournalist for a newspaper, and then as a wedding and portrait photographer, though his passion for the craft started to wane. That all changed one day when he flew into the Denver International Airport and stumbled upon a gallery owned by renowned nature photographer Tom Mangelsen, who also has a gallery in Park City.
"That re-inspired me," Beavis said. "I went out straightaway and got some new gear and have been shooting ever since. I was humbled a couple weeks ago, when he walked in here and showed some appreciation for my work. That was a neat thing for me — there was a guy who re-inspired my passion and actually took the time to come into my gallery."
But Mangelsen isn’t the only one who has appreciated Beavis’s art. He said the gallery’s reception has been warm and gratifying.
"I certainly don’t take it for granted," he said. "I want to greet everybody in here and share the stories behind the photographs and engage in conversation, whether they’re interested in buying or not."
David Beavis Gallery
314 Main St.