Travel gives photographer fresh eyes | SteamboatToday.com

Travel gives photographer fresh eyes

Images from trip to Tibet, Cambodia featured at gallery

Margaret Hair





Fall colors are among the subjects of photographer Ken Lee's new work. A reception featuring new images is from 5 to 9 p.m. today at Gallery 11.

For an opportunity to travel to Cambodia and Tibet this fall, local artist Ken Lee was ready to make a big sacrifice for a Colorado photographer: He was going to miss the fall colors.

But when Lee arrived in California to board a plane to Tibet, he learned that the country had been abruptly closed to visitors in the midst of political unrest. With a few weeks to kill before he could change itineraries and start his travels in Cambodia, Lee made a circuit through the state to capture the changing leaves.

In a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. today at his newly revamped Gallery 11, Lee will showcase those fall shots along with about 15 images from Cambodia and Tibet. The free event is part of First Friday Artwalk.

During his six-week journey to Cambodia and Tibet in October and November, Lee spent part of his trip documenting humanitarian efforts his father was participating in, in Tibet. Spending much of his six weeks in that country, Lee worked 10 days in Cambodia into the mix.

Many of the photos Lee took during those 10 days are from Angkor Wat and surrounding temples. Catching the ancient religious buildings at different times of day, Lee collected images that are a departure from the Rocky Mountain landscapes and wildlife shots that have become his specialty in his 3 1/2 years as a Steamboat Springs gallery owner.

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"When you travel around, everything is new and different," from the types of landscapes you see to the types of clothing people wear, Lee said.

Seeing those things for the first time gives a variety of new angles to a photographer, he said.

"When I got this opportunity to travel, I jumped on it, and it was definitely an adventure," Lee said.

Lee moved into his Lincoln Avenue storefront in May 2006, after exploring Rocky Mountain resort towns in search of a break from the commercial photography he had done in California.

Shortly after landing in Steamboat, he found a space to share in the 900 block of Lincoln Avenue with furniture designer the Hacienda Collection. That business moved out recently, and Lee started working on taking over the full square footage in January. He'll have pieces from the Routt County furniture makers of Dovetail Designs on display starting today.

"The opportunity came up for us to take over the whole space, so we decided to go for it," Lee said.

If you go

What: Reception for new work by Ken Lee

When: 5 to 9 p.m. today;

part of First Friday Artwalk

Where: Gallery 11, 908 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: Free

Call: 870-8887