I kept abandoning the things that I thought were important for things that I truly loved. It wasn’t scary, just really practical.
Photography is one of the most powerful and universal forms of communication. It has the power to educate an audience, sway opinions, birth and destroy movements; from Dorothea Lange’s portraits that personified the Great Depression era, to Bill Hudson’s images of the 1960’s Civil Rights protests that shaped international momentum. In their purest form, photographs tell us the truth about a moment, a place we have never seen, a person’s character. Like any compelling art or design, photographs harness the soul of the creator, the author of its frame. The composition, subject, even medium on which it is taken reference the voice and personality of the photographer and express his or her values. In a world where anyone can pick up a smartphone or digital camera, the greats of this field are recognized for their iconic contributions, the images they produced that swept us off our feet and reflected the soul of a time and place we did not know, but nevertheless shape our understanding.
For Bee and Rog Walker, photography is an art of not only technique and methodology, but of patience and courage, of selecting for only what is necessary, only what is excellent. Theirs is a life of uncompromising devotion to one another, their craft, and uncommon levels of joy and peace.
But becoming a creative wasn’t a lifelong dream for either of the two, and certainly not a photographer. “My parents are both physicians,” Bee explains. “It’s not that they didn’t believe in being creative; my dad very much encouraged that. He’s the one who bought me my first camera and took me to art galleries, but it was always considered more as life enrichment, not something you would do as a career.” Meeting Rog, who at that point had only recently begun shooting with the ranks of New York’s creative scene, marked the beginning of a departure from that traditional path. “Spending time with Rog and our friend Dre [Wagner] was such an eye-opening experience. I saw how fully involved in this kind of life they were, and how it reaped benefits. They were meeting people and having these great experiences; they were able to express themselves. That was what really changed my mind about how I would do life.”
“For me, creative life didn’t even exist as a concept,” Rog reflects. “Bee talks about her parents taking her to galleries and showing her things about photography. Those things were not in my worldview at all.” When a friend of his introduced him to a DSLR for the first time, he didn’t recognize it as a camera. “I was so disconnected from creative life that I didn’t even know what that was. I was doing web development at the time and thought, well it would be nice to have good photos for the websites I build. So I had this little purple point-and-shoot and thought, ‘Okay, I’m a photographer.’ It was ridiculous. But that was where I started.”
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