doug kurataI started taking pictures at age 10 with a Browning Instamatic on Christmas. As a teenager, I used to borrow my father’s 35mm Pentax. I enjoyed playing with the camera but did not know much about technique or aesthetics.

Most of my pictures were snapshots of family and friends. The mystique of capturing a moment of magic, like those in Life magazine and National Geographic, kept me clicking.

Over the next 3 decades, I purchased a number of different cameras, always searching for the “right one” that would make great pictures. Eventually I enrolled in a photography workshop at Coupeville Art Center.

This class opened my eyes. It debunked the camera myth, revealed my technical shortcomings, and inspired creative possibilities. I was 40 years old then, and have been a student of photography ever since.

At that time, I was a busy family doctor as well as a family man with 3 young children. Photography became an escape for me. I turned to the outdoors and nature for peace and quiet.

With a camera in hand, I would look more closely, especially at plants and flowers, and find pleasing compositions and colors. In the process, I was slowing down and relaxing. This became a means for personal refuge and renewal.

By the time my children had grown, I decided to cut back on my medical practice and commit more time to photography. That was four years ago, and has allowed for a more balanced life. I have less need for retreat now. Curiously, my interests have shifted back to photographing people.

Much of my current photography involves environmental portraits, or people in their work or habitats. While I still enjoy nature and landscape work, I often seek to incorporate a human subject in the image. This dovetails nicely with travel photography and visual story telling.

I find it gratifying to capture the spirit of a person photographically. It requires interpersonal and technical skills, sensitivity, and confidence. It pushes me to be a better photographer and a more considerate person.

January 2009

Mission:     Find Beauty
 Look with Compassion