Local Artist Q&A: Will Barber

Currently showing in McKinley Arts & Culture East Gallery is photographer Will Barber.  His past as an environmental scientist with multiple degrees and extensive research in biology, zoology and ecology has given him a distinct vision for creating order out of chaotic natural surroundings.  This show will be on display at the McKinley Arts & Culture Center from May 1st to June 16th 2017.

Wall with black and white framed photos in McKinley Art Gallery


I earned my Ph,D. in fish and aquatic ecology and like most people I took photographs during my career.  After retiring and taking time to review many of them something seemed to be lacking so I took classes at TMCC to improve my approach and began photographing Nevada.  After a while I thought “Hey, these are pretty good” and showed them at several county libraries and currently exhibiting them in Virginia City at Saint Mary’s Art Center and the Comstock History Center.

What is your process? 

There is a bit a scouting in landscape photography.  I look for color first then look at the relationships of various elements, for example trees, form of a hill/mountain, lines, manmade structures.

Goals for the show?

If one isn’t really paying attention when driving through Nevada in the middle of the day it can be boring as all get out; it’s harsh light makes it rather monochromatic.  But looking more closely at the varying patterns, say of the different patterns of rock layers and erosion, it is rather beautiful.  Monochromatic pictures point this out.


I have become enthralled with the varying color one can find in Nevada, particularly in early morning.  I discovered, however, looking more closely at my photographs that presenting them monochromatically emphasizes the complexity of the land forms and relationships.


The inspiration for the monochromatic approach in some of my work comes primarily from, among others, two photographers, Paul Strand and Ansel Adams.

What are you trying to communicate? 

In this exhibit I am trying to show that Nevada landscape can be very dramatic and beautiful.

What can you tell us about your style?

Most photographers try to make their photographs simple by emphasizing a single subject.  I try to show the complicated aspect of nature.

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