Dave Woody | Eureka CA, USA


Short Bio:
Dave Woody received his Bachelors in Fine Arts in Photography from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and his MFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin.
In 2009 he was the winner of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, which is a competition open to all media. As a result, the National Portrait Gallery commissioned him to make a portrait of Alice Waters, activist and chef. That portrait was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in January 2012.
Woody has lived and taught in Colorado, Virginia, and has exhibited throughout the country and internationally. He lived and worked in Italy for three years, immersing himself in the culture. He currently teaches photography at Humboldt State University in California. His photographs have appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Elle Decor, and M – Le Magazine Du Monde. His work is in the collection of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the University of Virginia Art Museum, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

What is your work about?
I’m interested in the relationship between an individual and their surrounding landscape and how they shape each other. One of photography’s greatest gifts is the way it allows me to observe a place or a person or a moment in time with clarity and attention. Turning each corner on a path or road presents a new experience, and the key is to accept the generosity of moments that happen in front of me. These photographs were all taken in Humboldt County California. The qualities of this landscape that stand out most to me are those related to strength and longevity (the ocean and the redwoods). To give a sense of the size and scope of the landscape here I show individuals immersed in these landscapes, which in turn speaks to the ephemerality of the encounter and of our own lives.

How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
Using large format cameras and film help me achieve a clarity and smoothness of tonality in my work which is important to me. I still love everything about the analog process, including the slowness of it. I find that thinking through the process and not having immediate results is actually a benefit to my way of working. The slow set-up also brings out something in the portraits I make that is difficult to achieve with a handheld/ digital camera.