Inspiration in photographs

John Brown University’s art gallery welcomes photographer Tim Ernst’s showing of “Arkansas Wilderness: A Rare Quality of Light.” Opening night was Jan. 20 and will continue until Feb. 13. The gallery showcases Ernst’ ability to play with light in capturing Arkansas’ beauty.

I had the privilege to attend the opening night of the gallery and sit in on Ernst’s presentation. The gallery was full of people looking from one picture to another; some visitors just stood, staring into a single piece.

I stood across from Ernst and listened to the story behind a picture that was taken by accident. He was so down-to-earth and easy to talk to; I almost forgot he was a renowned photographer.

Ernst has pieces of work featured in National Geographic, Backpacker, Outdoor Photographer, Natural History, and other well-known nature magazines, and has also comprised multiple books.

Bobby Martin, an art professor at JBU, enjoyed the exhibit and admires the work of Ernst. Martin comments, “Tim Ernst has an amazing eye as a photographer. His photographs are also technically impressive; he has a wonderful combination of an artistic eye and masterful technique.”

Martin hopes students took the opportunity to view Ernst’s work and meet him in person. He says it is important for students to listen to the “ideas, techniques, and life” of the artist, especially since he is well known.

Martin said that Ernst reminded him that “the mastery of technical skill of your chosen medium is critically important as an artist.”

Emma Pell, a sophomore at JBU, also attended the gallery and was impressed with Ernst’ work. Pell takes part in photography and was inspired by Ernst to take notice of the world around her. Pell said that “the photographs were so clear, I felt like I could reach out and touch them. It inspired me to try to improve my own nature photography, and how I view the world through the lens of the camera.”

Connor Wilkinson, a junior at JBU, thoroughly enjoyed Ernst’ work and said, “As a photographer who loves the outdoors, it made me proud to live in such a beautiful state and gave me more motivation to go and take photos that look like you’re stuck in Middle Earth and not the center of the country,” and that “Tim shoots his photos as if a great battle is about to take place. I’d like to try and incorporate that ‘epicness’ in my own photos.”

Wilkinson also said the gallery “really will inspire you to wake up at 3 a.m. and drive to the Buffalo River just to get a perfect shot.” In fact that’s what some JBU students decided to do.

Freshman Andrew Heldenbrand said he and a group of friends were so inspired by the gallery they went to Hawksbill Crag to see the sunrise. “It was really peaceful. It was really still, clear skies and the stars were beautiful as we were hiking up.”