Roger Spencer Photography

Artist's Statement

The significance of a photograph is fully realized when it is considered in the following context -- The making of a photographic image is, in effect, "freezing a moment in time."  A particular scene has never appeared exactly the same as it does at that moment, and it will never look exactly the same again.  If someone is present to personally experience that moment, and is fortunate enough to retain the scene in some detail in his or her memory, then the moment lives on.  But perceptions differ, specific details may be overlooked, memories fail, and people pass on.  It is also very difficult, if not impossible, to adequately share that moment with others verbally.  Enter the significance of the photographic image.

Photography has profoundly enhanced the quality of my life.  The evolution of my vision, cultivated from a photographic perspective, enables me to see what I didn't see before, and the search for the next image leads me to places that I would not have otherwise discovered.  I enjoy sharing these "frozen moments in time" with others,  from remote wilderness waterfalls and mountain vistas, to the scenes that may be passed by each day unaware of simply because most people, in their too-busy lives, just don't take the time to see.

Learning to use the equipment is relatively easy, and achieving technical quality is a matter of paying attention to detail.  However, producing images that capture the essence of the landscape and evoke an emotional response in the viewer is the real challenge.  The intangible element which determines the success or failure of this effort is a love for that which is being photographed.  The photographer's emotional involvement with the subject of the photograph is the key to producing a successful image.

On a cold October morning, as I stood alone on the shore of Moncove Lake in Monroe County, WV , a mist rising off of the water, the whole scene bathed in the surreal glow of the pre-dawn light, I realized that if not for my interest in photography, I would not have been there.  Perhaps more significantly, that moment in time, the one that I "froze" as I captured the image, would have been lost forever. 

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the influence of Arnout "Sonny" Hyde, Jr. (1937-2005), the preeminent West Virginia landscape photographer, whose images in Wonderful West Virginia magazine inspired me to capture the natural beauty of the landscape on film and digital sensor.

Sonny Hyde served as inspiration, mentor, and friend to a whole generation of West Virginia landscape photographers.  As long as there are beautiful landscape images of West Virginia being produced, Mr. Hyde's legacy lives on.  As co-founder, photographer, and long time editor of Wonderful West Virginia magazine, he loved the Mountain State and was dedicated to always presenting West Virginia in a positive light.

Even more significant than Sonny's professional accomplishments were his kindness, generosity, and humility, evidenced by the following anecdote.  He told me on several occasions how grateful he was to the West Virginia photographers who supported him and Wonderful West Virginia, and that he could not have produced the magazine without our help.  The truth is that if not for Sonny's influence, many of us would not even be landscape photographers.

West Virginia lost a true friend with his passing.

Finally, but most importantly, one cannot have such an intimate relationship with nature and the landscape without developing an enhanced appreciation for The One who created it all.  My Faith page examines the metaphysical aspects of reality and the nature of our existence.

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