model Emily Paullus photographed by Kevin Bowman
In my recent blog post about the upcoming annual PhotoSpiva exhibit, I told you about how much I love photographic images. Oftentimes a single image conveys a more compelling story than the most finely crafted novel. Kevin Bowman’s photo, “Intensity”, one of eighty images selected for the 2013 exhibit, is no exception. One glance at this image and I, too, experienced the determination and focus displayed on this athlete’s face. The fierceness of the darkened sky mirrors the concentration on the hurdler’s face while the physical definition of her body underscores her extraordinary dedication to her sport. Clearly, this is an athlete who has spent countless hours in the pursuit of excellence. In an instant I understood an integral part of this young woman’s life just by looking at her picture.
That is what makes photography an exciting art form.
Kevin Bowman inadvertently discovered photography as a creative outlet ten years ago when he bought his wife, Tania, her first 35mm camera for a Mother’s Day gift. While Tania finessed her craft by taking pictures and then sending them to a traditional developing studio for prints, Kevin discovered digital photography and the control it offered in creating artistic images through editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CS6. According to Kevin, “Digital has taken the guesswork out of photography. Digital photography allows the photographer more creative freedom and control of the finished product.”
For example, with his image, “Intensity”, Kevin explored several different editing choices before finally deciding to print the picture in black and white. As a black and white photo, the viewer is drawn to the subject’s “architecture” – the muscular contours of her body – as well as her form and her facial expression. The darkening clouds in the foreground also enhance the appearance of concentration and effort – or “Intensity”. Conversely, if this picture were printed in color the viewer’s eye might instead focus on the brightness of the sky or the colors of the trees peeking out from behind the stadium, or even the color of her shoes or singlet, anything but the photographer’s intended subject.
Kevin’s portfolio includes many different types of photography – portraiture, nature, art, and even glamour – but he considers sports photography his favorite because of its ability to demonstrate the magnificence of a finely tuned human body properly executing an athletic feat. A former tennis player himself, Kevin honed his skills by capturing images of tennis players around the Joplin area. His proficiency at perfecting his shots while working around the restrictive parameters of a sporting event earned him a photographer’s pass with Springfield’s prestigious World Tennis Team where each year he and other photographers attend matches throughout the month of July and photograph local and international tennis players.
|"Jump" by Kevin Bowman|
Although Kevin remains an amateur photographer and considers his work a hobby, his resume’ includes accolades envied by seasoned professionals. He earned his first magazine cover publication four years ago in the September/October issue of Photo Techniques. Two of his other pieces were also accepted for publication in that same magazine issue. Another sports piece, “Tipoff”, was selected as winner in the black & white category in the annual Crowder Quill literary-art magazine publication.
|"Hot Dog" by Kevin Bowman|
Kevin’s greatest photography challenges lie in his ability to find time in his schedule to shoot and the need to work around the changing seasons here in Joplin. Since he prefers to shoot pictures outdoors instead of inside a studio, the Joplin climate provides a limited opportunity to get desired backdrops for his photographs. However, he continues to pursue his interest in the art of photography because, quite simply, it is fun. When asked about his future plans for his photography, Kevin answered, “I want to continue to have fun with it, shoot what I want to, and keep it as a hobby.”
|"Reach" by Kevin Bowman|
|"Tip Off" By Kevin Bowman|
To view Kevin’s piece, as well as the 79 other PhotoSpiva selections, visit Spiva Center for the Arts in downtown Joplin during the exhibit’s run between March 9 and May 5, 2013. Also be sure to visit Kevin's Facebook page, "Show-Me Images" for more examples of his work.