Photographer Cindy Petrehn answers 7 |

Photographer Cindy Petrehn answers 7

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
John Petrehn brings home the trophy in the World Hot Air Balloon Championships, 2007-2008 . Motegi, Japan

Local photographer Ciindy Petrehn has lived and worked in the Vail Valley for more than 30 years. She owns a photography business called Cindy Petrehn Photography. Her photos are on exhibit through the end of the month in the Vail Library’s community room. She took the time to answer a few questions for the Vail Daily.

1. Vail Daily: What does photography mean to you?

Cindy Petrehn: Photography to me is capturing the light in a moment of time and space. We may never pass this way again … or so the song goes. It is a passion and an obsession, I see things and taking a photograph is my way of remembering that moment. Having an almost photographic memory, I can look at a photograph and remember that location and point in time. I can remember most names and faces of all the brides and grooms from the many weddings that I have shot.

2. VD: When did you know that you wanted to be a photographer? How did you get started?

CP: I have always been fascinated with pictures, my mother had a little Kodak Brownie Camera and there is still a picture in my mind of her using it. That camera is in my collection still today. Sometime in junior high school, I decided that I wanted to be a photographer and an artist and used my dad’s camera to shoot my first roll of film. The photos were not very good, but I sent one to a contest anyway. I took my first of many photography classes in college and as an art major, I found we had a darkroom in the art department and that became my focus for several years. I concentrated on black and white, still life and nature and became an expert in hand coloring photographs with oils.

After moving to Vail, I became more self taught and specialized in people, corporate groups and weddings. I started shooting digital around 2001, but only just packed up my darkroom two years ago. I feel that film and processing is becoming a lost art and I still try to photograph with film as often as I can.

3. VD: What inspires you to create? What kind of mood do you have to be in?

CP: I could spend everyday shooting images and being creative, whether in a city or nature or capturing people. I travel quite a bit and once I took only one camera, one card and only a wide angle lens to New York City and with only a few hours of shooting time, was able to create some cool images. With digital it is so easy to just shoot endless frames, and finding the time to spend in front of the computer continuing that creativity is the hard part. I think I have captured close to a million images over the past 35 years, and there are images waiting to be printed and many more still to shoot.

4. VD: Describe your style.

CP: I am always looking for that light and shadow that captures a moment in time. I try to be technically correct because that was the way that I learned, with film in the camera. You had one chance to make it right. I try to teach that, I challenge my students to shoot 36 photos in a session, pretend that is all you can shoot. Frame and compose each shot as if you had film in the camera.

5. VD: If you were to meet any artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

CP: Georgia O’Keffe or Paul Gauguin, they were both passionate about their personal styles and capturing the beauty of life around them.

6. VD: What’s your favorite photo in the show?

CP: I have been lucky to be involved in hot air ballooning since college, I am now one of the official photographers for the BFA (Balloon Federation of America) and The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. A particular favorite is a small print of a balloon over a foggy valley. It has special meaning to me because it was in Motegi, Japan and is my brother John flying and winning the World Hot Air Balloon Championship, which he just won again in Hungary two weeks ago.

7. VD: Where do you sell your art?

CP: You can contact me to buy any of the photographs in the show, in any size or format, check out my website, or e-mail me at

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