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Featured Artist: Bonnie Heidbrak

Lucid Photo Art

[San Juan Silver Stage | October 2020 | Kathryn R. Burke]  

Bonnie Heidrak. Courtesy photo.


Elephant’s Eye. ©Bonnie Heidbrak.

Lucid Photo Art. The dictionary defines it as “expressed clearly; easy to understand.” But what does that mean to Bonnie?

“Lucid‑is how I see,” she explains. “When I’m looking around, shooting, it’s what comes up. I kind of go into a different dimension—an artistic space‑if I’m shooting a lot. Everybody else is walking by, not really seeing what I see. And I’m like, Wow! What is that? That’s why I call it Lucid.”

For Bonnie, what she sees, how she sees things, and the pictures she takes, are not just the sum of the parts, but sometimes parts of the parts. Like the thoughtful eye of this African elephant, contrasted to the rough planes and textures of its skin. What do you see? Rivers, landscape, or did you spy the thoughtful eye in the lower left corner.

Red Wooden Spoke. ©Bonnie Heidbrak.

This picture is more obvious. You see what Bonnie wants you to see. The spokes of a Santa Fe wagon wheel draw your eye to the big orange nut, then literally spins your view beyond the frame. In both—the elephant’s eye and the wagon wheelas in most good photography, the center of attraction is not the center of the picture. (That’s the main difference between commercial photography, where it is, and artistic photography, where the photographer takes you on a sometimes-surprising visual journey.)

“Journey” is also key to understanding Bonnie’s work. She has traveled extensively, shooting pictures in Asia (Laos, Cambodia and Thailand) and Africa (Kenya, South Africa, Egypt), Europe (France, England, Greece, Italy and North and South America, and all 50 states in the US. As a result, the worldview she shares with you is alternately (and sometimes collectively) evocative, inspiring, joyful, eclectic, and always…stunning.

“There is so much beauty in the world,” Bonnie says. “Sometimes it’s in the little things, sometimes in the big things, but you have to walk around with awareness. When I go down a street…” (or maybe road, alley, waterway… on foot, in a Jeep, in a gondola), “I’m being very aware of how things play off each other… and how it all is constantly changing.”

What fascinates her is color and textures, light and contrast, how various effects affect the subject and how she chooses to capture it. Look at these three pictures of an old door in Arizona: “Shadow Hawks,” “Bisbee Handles,” and “Bisbee Metal.” Three views, one subject, taken at different times of the day from different perspectives.

L-R: “Shadow Hawks,” “Bisbee Handles,” “Bisbee Metal.” © Bonnie Heidbrak.

“We all get so overwhelmed in our lives, we’re numb, and we don’t really see what’s around us.”

Taken from a moving gondola in Venice. © Bonnie Heidbrak.

Sometimes speed is also a factor, depending on mode of travel. Like these floating boats in a Venice, shot from a moving gondola. One chance, one shot. And she got the “Wow!” down on the first try.

Other times its sheer determination, like when Bonnie climbed out on the girders of this bridge in Paris. “It’s one of my favorite pictures and one of the most challenging I have achieved’ she says.

Bonnie’s early photography forays occurred during a family trip to Vancouver. “I took quite a few pictures,” she said, “came back, showed them to a bunch of people. They were all blown away at quality, and what I was shooting. I kinda went ‘huh?’”

And so, it began. She’s been a camera-ready traveler ever since.

She traveled for work, vacations, personal pleasure over the years. Often traveling alone, which she finds conducive to photography. “Traveling by myself is an easy passport,” she explains. “People accept you. You can go a lot of places if you have camera and are shooting. Nobody bothers you. Meanwhile, you get to see a lot of the country while shooting interesting and different things.” She found if traveling with a group, she had to be quick, get the picture and move on, because tour guides and groups don’t wait for you to frame a shot. Walking or driving alone, taking pictures where and how she finds them, affords her a little more time.

Visit Bonnie’s website, LucidPhotoArt.com.

Bonnie Heidbrak show, “Lines, and Curves in Nature and Structure,” shows all month at Montrose Center for Arts, 11 S. Park Ave. The opening reception is Friday, Oct. 2, 5-7 pm. Hear some music, have a glass of wine, meet Bonnie, and see how she captures the “Wow Factor” in every Lucid Photo Art shot she takes.