The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Columns

July 6, 2013

Backyard is young photographer's hunting ground

When most people peer through their cameras, they are inclined to see the big picture.

But when Andrew Murray looks through his, likely as not, he’s looking for the small details.

In keeping with a photographer’s credo that creating an interesting image is all about sorting through the visual chaff to find the visual wheat, the 17-year-old, who will be a senior at Loyola High School this fall, has developed a keen eye for creating striking photographs of the things most people wouldn’t give a second glance.

“For me, photography is all about being able to show every day things in ways that other people might not notice,” he said.

His favorite subjects are the usual staples of nature photographers — birds, flowers, landscapes, bugs.

Bugs?

“A lot of people say they don’t like bugs,” he said. “But then they’ll see one of my photographs of one and say ‘hey, that’s pretty interesting.'”

Murray said his interest in photography was piqued as an eighth-grader. “I started out with a video camera,” he said.

He would pull still images from the video clips and eventually became fascinated with the power of the still image, how the nuances of light, form and composition came together to create a mood or message.

He swapped the video camera for an inexpensive point-and-shoot, eventually saving enough to spring for the sophisticated digital SLR he now uses.

The image-maker is mostly self-taught.

“I’ve read a lot of books about photography, found out a lot of information about it on the Internet,” he said.

Armed with a complement of three lenses, his favorite photo hunting ground is his own backyard.

“You really don’t have to travel very far to make good photographs,” he said. “I’ve probably taken 90 percent of my photographs in our backyard.”

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