DeEdra (Dee) Oberle, Photographer/Writer
My father, a tool designer by trade, but an artist in spirit, introduced me to photography at a very young age. Some of my earliest memories include trying to open my eyes against the blaze of those bright studio lights. He loved to have me and my sisters pose for his camera but the photos I treasure most are the candid shots of our everyday life.
I grew up in the Midwest but my family loved to travel so fishing trips to Minnesota and camping trips to the Rocky Mountains were a yearly adventure and every trip was documented on film. When I was about twelve my parents gave me my first camera, a little blue, box-like thing, and I burned up rolls of black and white film taking photos of my friends and our pets. Later, after I married and had two boys, I returned to college and took my first “real” photography class and purchased my first 35-mm SLR camera. From then on, I was hooked.
Since writing has always been one of my passions, many of my photos tend to tell stories or illustrate thoughts. Documentary photography isn’t in vogue anymore and we are so busy that it is easy to ignore life as it moves around us, but I still enjoy wandering the streets of New Orleans or spending the day in Central Park in New York documenting my journey. I seldom pose my subjects but prefer to have them involved in life and oblivious to my camera and me. I would never be happy working in a studio controlling light and shadow and I have no desire to manipulate nature or human nature.
In recent years I have had the opportunity to travel to the Southwest and the north woods of Wisconsin and I am also learning more about Native American culture and wisdom. When travel isn’t possible, I wander through my garden or head to a nearby park. I love the serendipity of finding a spider’s web covered with dew or a seed pod ready to burst its seams. Photography provides me with a connection to my spirit, the earth and an opportunity to see, through my lens, what we so often take for granted.
There are still times when I am in total awe of the photographic process. Times when I feel connected to my subject, the light is right, the wind dies down and I remember to click the shutter at the “decisive moment.” These are the times when film becomes magic. Times when some mystery of light and shadow, movement or reflection, that only the camera can expose, is captured on film. It is during these times that I truly feel like an artist.