This is part of a series about artists within the Outdoor and SnowSports industries who create art outside of their day jobs.
A WWII-era Argus C-3 Rangefinder camera was a gift to Geoff O’Keeffe from his mother when he was a kid. “I shot rolls and rolls of very bad pictures and used my paper route money to have them developed”, he says.
More recently, the VP of Global Sourcing for American Recreation Products uses a digital camera to create his images. “Digital has helped me settle down and look. Looking is most of it. Being able to make hundreds of images you can then delete is also great training.”
O’Keeffe’s photographs eloquently capture both East and West. Whether it’s a nature shot or a picture of a human face, one feels the essence of place. This melding of cultures is integral to who Geoff is, and where his interests lie. He works in Asia for three months out of the year. His family roots are in the Rockies and stretch back for generations. He calls Colorado home. He’s a student of Zen. He’s learning to speak mandarin Chinese.
When asked about his artistic process Geoff says that for him, “the best approach is none at all save for silence; empty mind, open eyes.” Zen teacher John Daido Loori’s photographs have inspired his work.
Like so many who’ve followed in his footsteps, being an outdoors person led Geoff into the Outdoor Industry. “I began going to the Cascades with “Dharma Bums” in my pack in the 1960′s. I started working in the outdoor business in 1976 and have done a variety of things.”
Besides being a photographer, Geoff is also an accomplished woodworker, guitar player and writer. One gets the impression while talking with him that he will never run out of ideas or things to keep him busy.
Geoff’s extended dream vacation is to drive around the west for a year in a Synchro Vanagon with guitars, camera, laptop, books, a Winchester Model 94 30-30 (I forgot to ask that that is for!) and cases of Bordeaux. He’d then move on and spend a year living between Beijing and Shanghai studying Mandarin and Chinese history and culture. He’d then spend a few months in New Orleans, and then Galway. He’d love to live in New York City for six months and would like to visit India and Nepal and Tibet soon. I can’t wait to see the slide show!
4th century Lingyin Si Buddhist temple in Hangzhou, China
This photograph was taken at an iris farm in Boulder, CO.
Red Leaf. Worcester, New York.
Chinese Soldier. Hangzhou, China
The poppy’s were taken outside Geoff’s house in Colorado.
Woman Offering Incense – Lingyin Si Buddhist temple in Hangzhou, China
To see more artist profiles click here.
I will be blogging about more artists within the Outdoor & SnowSports industries in the upcoming weeks. The criteria is that they work within these industries, and that they don’t make art as part of their full-time job. If you are an artist or know someone who is, please drop me a line.
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