Steve Wentworth, photographer
New CSA member, Steve Wentworth is one of the few photographer that freely shares his images with non-profit , educational and environmental groups. “I am happy to share my work with non-profit educational or positive environmental groups and I will provide that work free if I think it will be used for good purposes.” Wentworth has shared more than 1,200 of his photographs with the Sierra Club – Rio Grande Chapter of New Mexico and the Bosque Action Team and various other groups, including a nearby Pueblo that uses his images for their educational and environmental programs.
Wentworth and his wife, Karen are native New Mexicans; both grew up in eastern New Mexico and went to the same university. They love the beauty of New Mexico and appreciate the different cultures of the state. More than forty years ago, Steve worked for a local TV station doing studio production. According to Steve, at the station he ran audio, “I was a cameraman, did lighting for news casts and commercial production. I did some photography for the station…photos of cars, sofas and so on but it was was not very creative or rewarding. Studio work is fine for some but the redundant nature didn't interest me.” Eventually quitting the TV station , Wentworth started a construction company and retired 35 years later, hardly ever touching a camera during those years.
“Then in 2007, my wife wanted a small digital camera for her job with UNM's Communication & Marketing Department, so I got her the best camera I could find locally; it was a small point and shoot unit. I was amazed at what I could do with that small camera and I loved the fact I did not have to have the film processed.
“I would never go back to using film – I can't think of a single reason to use film despite the many myths about film. Each year the technology for cameras and lenses improves at a fantastic rate; photo software is easier to use and good photography is achievable for all. I don't believe cell phones or point and shoots are suitable for serious photography, they are great for snap shots of the dog and kids. Good digital cameras are amazing and worth the price for a good body and glass; I use digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR) with the best lenses I can afford.
Wentworth concentrates on wildlife and some event work because he finds it challenging. “I figured if I could get a good shot of a tiny bird or animal, I would learn how to use my camera. You can't control the environment and natural light and certainly cannot control the actions of the subjects that may move or fly away at the next moment.” His ability to capture freedom of the wild, the detail and beauty of the living environment in the natural light as he experiences it can be breathtaking. “My photos are the result of being in the right place, having the right equipment ready, knowing how to use that equipment and then the most important item is luck.” Almost 95 percent of Wentworth's photography is done in New Mexico, with most within a 25 mile radius of Albuquerque.
Many of today's digital photographers spend considerable time using programs to enhance, composite or modify their images. While Wentworth does work with digital tools, he is more of a purist. “I don't like spending time on my computer (today's' darkroom) working on my photos, but I do think it is necessary to photoshop almost all digital photos to some degree. I try to reproduce the image in a natural manner while trying to bring out the detail and color that is already there. I will say that I am amazed at some of the wonderful work done by folks who know how to manipulate their photos to achieve beautiful artwork.”
As an organization, CSA supports young, budding artists through mentoring, classes and offering advice. When asked what advice he would offer to beginning photographers, Wentworth replied, “My best advice for young photographers or anyone starting out with any type of photography is to turn off their cell phones, get a camera with a viewfinder, and learn how to use it, be quiet, pay attention and take lots of photos. Only after taking hundreds of photos did I learn enough to start taking some acceptable photos. I shared some of the photos with friends and was soon asked to share the photos with other people and groups – this was a positive boost in my confidence and my progression as a professional photographer.”