ALPENA – Jeff Fairchild grew up with a camera in his hand and loved the outdoors and the wildlife that call it home.
Over the years he has combined his passion for both to become a professional photographer who recently opened a new gallery in the Center Building in downtown Alpena.
His work led to some of his images being featured in PBS-sponsored calendars and also gained notoriety by ranking high in other photo contests.
“I always had a camera in my hand growing up. I had the Fisher-Price camera and loved taking pictures with it,” Fairchild said. “I was born in Alpena and my dad was involved in Audubon society and birds and the outdoors as a whole.”
Fairchild said he always had an affinity for art and tried many different methods to create it. He said photography was the most fulfilling for him and inspired him to pursue a career in photography.
“I tried fine art, drawing, painting, sculpting and even taxidermy, but none of it suited me and made me itch,” he said. “With photography, especially with digital equipment, I can take pictures and use the filters and the editing process to be creative. I want to get to the point where someone looks at one of my pictures and knows I’m taking it. I’m not there yet, but that’s the goal.
Farchild’s company, Jeff Fairchild Photography LLC, has its gallery conveniently located downtown, on the lower level of the Center Building. He said the location is great and he hopes to see lots of customers, especially at the start of the peak tourist season.
The rows of the gallery are lined with framed photos of familiar landscape scenes from the Alpena region, and many close-ups of animals which, with the help of technology, are enlarged so that a person can see the smallest details.
Fairchild said it is also making prints of some of its most popular works, such as the snowy owl which is in Alpena, available for purchase. Getting more involved and working with others in the business community is another goal, Fairchild said.
“I want to work with other companies and try to get known more as someone who does good work,” Fairchild said. “I want to continue to use high quality products like real wood frames and glass and just create art that people are going to appreciate and want to hang on their wall to enjoy.”
The invention of digital photography and quality cameras on mobile devices has encouraged many people to take photos as a hobby or a career. Fairchild said novice photographers can hone their skills and take better photos by simply taking lots of photos.
“Take as many pictures as you can. Hundreds or thousands of them,” he said.
ture, shutter speed and ISO. Take a ton of photos and see how they indirectly influence each other for different end results. Experiment a bit and have fun.