International photographer who studied with Ansel Adams to showcase work at Steamboat’s First Friday Artwalk
August 3, 2017
Sometimes, it can take hours waiting in one place for all the elements of a photo to come together.
“I most enjoy finding an interesting vantage point and then waiting for the human elements to come through the composition to hopefully create something interesting," said David Epperson, a Steamboat Springs resident and renowned photographer.
That patience turned into a career that involves Epperson’s passion for black-and-white photography that he honed while a student at San Francisco State University and also studying with fine art photographer Ansel Adams in Yosemite and later in Carmel, California.
In Marin County, California, Epperson was introduced to Ritchey Mountain Bikes where he met Gary Fisher and Tom Ritchey. Epperson was hired to photograph three Tours de France races, including two victories by Greg Lemond.
"It was the start of a lifelong passion for cycling," said Epperson, who was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame as a photojournalist in 2013. "But since college, I have had a passion for fine art, black-and-white photography and have always worked at the fine art while working on commercial projects."
Epperson's work, spanning about 30 years, will be on display for the month of August at W Gallery, which will host an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. during today’s First Friday Artwalk.
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"There are humorous aspects in some of his images," said Katie Kiefer, owner of W Gallery, which opened in October 2016 as an extension of West Elevation Architects.
Kiefer selected Epperson for an exhibit based on his recent series of photos from a few familiar places within Europe.
"Dave is able to see and capture light and dark in his compositions in a way that is authentic and genuine," Kiefer said. "His training with Ansel Adams is evident in that way. He also has a terrific sense of humor – and there is delight and irony in the work. It can be serious and foreboding in feel, but totally not so in subject matter."
In the exhibit Epperson said his photos are primarily street scenes from Europe and San Francisco. Many of the early photos throughout his career were taken with Leica film cameras and lately he has been using Fuji mirrorless cameras.
"I am all digital now, using Epson printer and archival paper similar in look to the papers I used to use in the darkroom," Epperson said. "I am amazed at the quality of the ink printers, and although I miss the magic of the darkroom, I don’t miss the chemicals one bit."
Epperson’s career evolved from snapping shots of a friend surfing on Southern California's coast to a career to work featured in numerous publications including Getty Images as a contract photographer, Time magazine, Velo News, Mountain Bike Action and Bicycle Sport, which he founded in 1983. Epperson has also been a contract photography for Getty Images and done commercial work for Diamondback, Mongoose, Moots Cycles, Kent Eriksen Cycles, Specialized Bikes, Backroads Travel, Fisher Mountain Bikes, Ritchey USA, O'Neill Wetsuits, Moots Cycles, Mountain Hardwear and Smartwool among others.
For aspiring photographers, Epperson has a few words of advice.
"Don't get too hung up on the technical aspects of photography," he said. "Simply go out and shoot thousands of photos of whatever brings you joy."
To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email @Audrey_Dwyer1