Friday, May 20, 2022

Creative Adirondacks: Photographer Skip Murray

skip murraySkip Murray is a fine arts photographer who values the art of taking a good photograph more than the type of camera equipment he is using. Whether it’s the delight in a child’s face, the dynamic energy of brilliant holiday fireworks, or the collective joy of a summer Saturday market, Skip’s focus is capturing the emotional essence of what he is photographing. His camera, currently a Nikon SLR,  almost seems like an afterthought, although he is sure to have it with him. Whether he’s planning on photographing an event, or not, you’ll see Skip with his camera around his neck on the off chance that  he sees  a shot he would not want to miss.  He’s also not adverse to taking a photo with an iPhone.

He currently has an exhibit, “Village Views,” at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, on display through July 7, 2022. 

Felista Gallagher, who grew up in Saranac Lake,  describes her husband as a “storyteller of our village’s celebrations, capturing its dramatic ancestral architecture with nature’s enveloping beauty.”

Skip never studied  photography in school and doesn’t remember any particular interest until later in life when he was overseas in the Philippines.  He  grew up in the Boston area during the Vietnam War. Skip  was drafted and then he enlisted into the AirForce. Like many young people, he found his time abroad to be life changing. Later, he traveled throughout the United States, as well as to Paris, which is now one of his most favored locations.  Skip has also lived in Northern California near the Sierra Nevada mountains, close to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and for a time in Vermont near the Green Mountains. In spite of their  stunning beauty, Skip found the Adirondacks to most  match his sensibilities, and it has been here in Saranac Lake that he has found great inspiration.

saranac lake

Photo by Skip Murray

A celebration of community is a big theme in Skip’s work and his blog is most populated with photos of Saranac Lake Farmers Markets and arts events. Skip would love to see Saranac Lake’s plethora of art and music broadcast throughout the area to increase attendance at events. Not only for his civic mindedness, local artists also appreciate Skip’s efforts in taking memorable photographs.  Yvona Fast, a Lake Clear author, has used photos taken by Skip at the Farmer’s market on her blog and book cover. She believes they are among the best taken of her.

One of Skip’s talents is to bring the most out of any event or person he is photographing, with the photo less about him the photographer,  than the feeling he is experiencing and hopes to communicate.   Perhaps it’s the time  he spent in the Philippines that gave him insight in photographing the village of Saranac Lake.  “That country is one large community. People are with each other over food and conversation, or just enjoying time with each other.”

fireworks

Photo by Skip Murray

Skip also looks at the work of other artists and photographers.  He is captivated by French artist Edgar Degas for his craft in capturing movement and flow, and you can see this influence in Skip’s work.  He also appreciates the work of Mark Kurtz, a fine arts and commercial photographer located in Saranac Lake.  Likewise, Kurtz told me that  “Skip has a great sense of composition, and knows where to put things in their right place inside the frame. One of Skip’s talents is to stay on the edge rather than inserting himself,  looking for images that will say something without influencing them.”  Kurtz  is also President of the Board of the well known BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, and can depend on Skip to not only photograph BluSeed events, but  to take the kind of photographs that showcase Saranac Lake as a place for people to want to visit or live.

Now in his 70’s, with grown children, Skip has found Saranac Lake to be 360 degrees of beauty and has no desire to live anywhere else. Before moving here,  he and Felista would visit her parents who lived in Saranac Lake. Then about four years ago, after regretting each time they returned to Boston, they moved here  permanently.  A life long learner, Skip enjoys discovering  new places within the Adirondacks and beyond. “There are so many interesting things, views, angles and such, just waiting and wanting to be photographed. Whether it is an old, no longer used covered wagon somewhere in Nebraska, the side of a mountain in Utah, or a historic site in Boston, I try to capture the essence and beauty.”  

Skip’s photographs are a way to even better enjoy Saranac Lake, and  if you aren’t able to make the exhibit, you can view the photos on exhibit it at: http://www.skipmurrayphotography.com/p/village-angles.html

More info about BluSeed at BlueSeedStudios.org

See Skip’s photo of Yvona at: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2021/08/creative-adirondacks-writer-yvona-fast.html

Photo at top of Skip Murray, courtesy of Mark Kurtz

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Linda Friedman Ramirez is a resident of Saranac Lake. She previously owned an art gallery in St Petersburg, Florida, and appreciates how art is integral to a community. She's contributing these artist profiles on behalf of ArtWorks, of which she is a member.




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