Artist in Residency

Joe Cramer

Joe Cramer

Artist's Statement

The doctors say I have PTSD. I say I've had some exciting years. Some say I have a dark side. I say at least I admit it. I've seen my share of ugliness;but now as a photographer, I focus on beauty. Some people let the dark consume them. I say not me, not today. I try to turn it into shadows and shading. It doesn't matter to me whether the subject is a sunset, a woman, or a rusty boat;beauty is universal. I try to find it, capture it, and share it.

I grew up in the Antelope Valley, in the high desert northwest of Los Angeles. It was much too hot, but at least I grew up appreciating sunsets and the night sky. I joined the Army, and over the next 40 years I deployed to numerous places in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Along the way, Oregon became home.  

When I retired from the Army as Colonel, after a long-term deployment in Iraq, I found myself back home with two boys in sports, a camera that my wife bought me, dozens of medals, ribbons and badges for my service, and a formidable case of PTSD. Don't all photographers start off like that? 

In the beginning, I was advised to pick a genre and perfect it. But for me, that is too confining. I want to see and photograph everything: kids playing ball, tall models in high heels, and three-billion-year-old rocks. I want to capture the beauty in it all, and I hope it makes you look. You will never know how much I hope it makes you look!