Old fashion photo work | VailDaily.com

Old fashion photo work

Cassie PenceVail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily "Missouri," by Ben Ham.

VAIL – Ben Ham tried using a digital camera, but after a week and a half, the fine art photographer put it down for good.Ham prefers lugging around a 50 pound wooden large format camera, sometimes with the assistance of a lama, into remote wilderness areas. When he finds a desires scene, he sets up the camera, chooses an appropriate lens and slips under the dark cloth.”There’s something magical about looking through ground glass at the image upside down and backwards,” Ham said. “With the large format camera, you’re not just turning and shooting. It slows you down. You have to think about the scene. You become more intimate with the environment your shooting.” Ham likes the results of traditional photography. It allows him more control over focus and yields incredible depth of field, he said. It’s the same type of camera famous landscaper photographer Ansel Adam used, and Ham’s images are reminiscent.”The details are so amazing that you feel like you step right into the image,” Ham said.

Ham’s photo shoots are long and drawn out because a large format camera takes more preparation, and in many instances, Ham will have to return to the faraway location to capture the light the way he intended.But Ham wouldn’t have it any other way. Because as much as he likes photography, he loves being out in the wilderness and hiking. He lives on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, but he spends a lot of time in the Vail area, exploring the backcountry.Friday, Clagget/Rey Gallery in Vail will feature Ham’s work in an exhibit and artist reception from 4-6 p.m. Clagget/Rey typically doesn’t represent photography, but the owner of the gallery, Bill Rey, was so impressed he wanted to have a special showing.”My first thought when I see Ben’s images, is not photography, although it clearly is a photograph, but simply, ‘wow,’ great image – where is it?” Rey said.The exhibit will hang for a week following the reception today. For more information, call the gallery at 476-9350 or visit Ham’s Web site at http://www.benhamimages.com.

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 748-2938, or cpence@vaildaily.com.

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