Art, travel and creative fun! Serena was a guest on Angie Bowie's Radio Show! Creative sparks were flying!

Angie Bowie. Photo credit: Sergio Kardenas. Photo courtesy Angie Bowie & Sergio Kardenas

Chicago curator Sergio Gomez interviews Serena on the Art NXT Level podcast:

Art NXT Level

Creating from Life: Finding the Magic - Day 138

Knock Before Entering by Bob Estrin © Bob Estrin

"Knock Before Entering" by Bob Estrin © Bob Estrin

The success of any creative work that is inspired from life requires not only talent, but the ability to recognize the potential in whatever we are viewing. Whether we’re writing our memoir or searching for the perfect landscape to paint, we rely on our Artist Mind to know when a story or a particular setting has that “special something” that sparks with magic.

Bob Estrin is a traveling photographer, taking his camera off the beaten path to capture that magic, creating some of most captivating and unique images that invoke a deep sense of place and the stories that place might reveal.

Estrin often spends hours and days looking for just the right shot. How does he know when he finds it? “Sometimes I know as soon as I trip the shutter that I have something special,” he says. “Many times I shoot a specific subject numerous ways, knowing in advance which one I will want to use in the end. Most of the time, however, I don’t really know at the time if I got ‘The Shot’ until I view the images later, where I can see them more as someone else might view them.”

The artist has been known to rearrange some of the objects he finds at the scene, such as a door, pants or shoes, in order to enhance his composition. “The idea is to be creative,” he says. “You can have numerous photographers in the same space and they will come up with totally different concepts. Some photographers go into a room and only look for subjects as they are, others look for the possibilities. I have had different photographers actually come up to me and say I can’t rearrange the subject matter for a photo. These people either have no concept of what art is or for some reason are confusing me with a photojournalist.”

Mesa Arch by Bob Estrin © Bob Estrin

"Mesa Arch" by Bob Estrin © Bob Estrin

“While I have interest in photographing a wide variety of subjects, my main theme is exploring objects that represent the past – ones where it would be is difficult to tell if I photographed my subject matter last week or twenty years ago,” says the artist. “With this in mind, I focus on exploring old abandoned homes, buildings, trailers or even the main streets of small-town America.”

“My favorite local area is a ghost town called Vulture Mine near Wickenburg, Arizona, which has many old buildings still standing.

One of my most popular subjects to photograph is old gas pumps, and I discovered a unique place south of Taos, New Mexico that has over fifty old pumps. I photographed at this location for three hours and only scratched the surface of the visual opportunities there.”


Empty in Retirement by Bob Estrin © Bob Estrin

"Empty in Retirement" by Bob Estrin © Bob Estrin

“Recently I was on my way to a ghost town and, in the middle of nowhere, I came across an interesting location called Kramer Junction in the California Mojave desert. Stopping at an antiques store, I asked permission to explore some of the areas on the property where the public isn’t generally allowed. It never hurts to ask and this often leads to unique subject matter that hasn’t been photographed to death. Not only did this place have a variety of old gas pumps and many objects left over from World War II, but it also had a small airport storing old planes and military hardware! They had the biggest private classic car and military collection I have every seen! I ended up spending four hours of intense photographing at that place, and never got around to finding that ghost town I was looking for. But who cares!”

“I often use my photography as an excuse to be more adventurous – to go places and do things that most people would not even think of doing. Life can be exciting, if you let it happen.”

Bob Estrin is not only a talented photographer – he’s an excellent vagabond.

- SerenaK


For those of you who are new to Artful Vagabond, I have made a resolution to write a year-long series of daily posts: A 365-Day Tribute to Artists and the Creative Mind.

Here’s the story behind these daily “resolutions”:

A Juicy New Year’s Resolution


Artist Credits for the images included in this post:

Denim and Lace by Bob Estrin © Bob Estrin

"Denim and Lace" by Bob Estrin © Bob Estrin

Image featured above:
Knock Before Entering
Bob Estrin, Arizona

Second image featured:
Mesa Arch
Bob Estrin, Arizona

Third image featured:
Empty in Retirement
Bob Estrin, Arizona

Image on the left:
Denim and Lace
Bob Estrin, Arizona

Bob Estrin’s artwork can be viewed at: Bob Estrin Photography

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