Meet the Artist Michael J. Gordon - Photographer

Michael Gordon of Pullman said, “My thing is to photograph things from a different perspective. We’re bombarded…with images that are all a certain way. Photographing the same thing from a different angle makes it uniquely yours.”

Gordon, owner of Summit Realty in Pullman with his wife Jeannette, will be featured as the finale of this season’s Meet the Artist series May 5 at 7 p.m. in the library meeting room on Main Street in Colfax. Several of his photographs are displayed now in the entry to the library.

The Meet the Artist Series, now in its fifth year, features artists every first Thursday of the month September through May and is sponsored by Colfax Arts Council and Whitman County Library. Next session will be in September.

Gordon pointed out that digital photography allows him to print as many copies of his pictures as he wants, so he enjoys presenting a picture to each client who purchases a property with Summit Realty. If a client comes in to his office and admires a photograph on his wall, he will sometimes just take the picture down and give it to them.

He said he has never really tried to sell photographs, but a look at his web page shows that he could easily market his pictures. He recently submitted some of his pictures to a local calendar of barns.

So his day job, which he fully enjoys and for which he was voted realtor of the year three times, is real estate. His private passion is photography. He also earned his U.S. Coastguard license to work as a fishing guide and jet boat captain. He occasionally guides trips up the Snake River into Hells Canyon with the guide service “Gone Fishin’.” He also loves to travel and has included photos from Alaska, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico in his remarkable repertoire.

He noted it all works well together. The real estate business keeps him moving around the byways of the Palouse and his travels and sportsman activities add new images to his art.

Gordon moved to Moscow when his family decided to leave California in the 1980s and attended junior high school there. He then spent some time in Hawaii and ended up in North Pole, Alaska, where he graduated from high school. It was during his high school years that he got all the formal training in photography that he ever had.

His teacher, Mrs. Yamamoto, put him on to the “Rule of Thirds.” When viewing a photographic subject, think about the overall picture being broken into three pieces. If, for instance, the picture is of a barn, put the subject in one of the outside thirds to make the picture more artistic.

Gordon started photography with film and learned dark room techniques in school. But, after moving back to Pullman in 1986, his camera was stolen while he was on a hunting trip and he had a five-year hiatus from photography.

What brought him back to photography was the advent of the digital camera. It was a thrill to take any numbers of pictures of a subject without the cost of film. He quickly learned you can do anything with a digital camera that you can do with film and a lot of the work can be done in 30 seconds on the computer after the photos have been taken.

He uses a Sigma camera with 14 mega pixels, SLR and an eye piece. The camera is the size of a film camera and takes very detailed pictures that can be blown up larger. While he loves color, he will occasionally find that a picture is more dramatic in black and white. He also has a 1.2 mega pixel “point and shoot” camera that is smaller and easy to pack around. Recently he purchased a small water proof camera that he intends to carry around with him all the time.

“You know, it makes you wonder why there are no pictures of big foot,” he quipped. “Everyone has a camera on them most of the time, even if it’s their cell phone! You would think these sightings would be confirmed with pictures!”

Michael plans to have a video presentation Thursday of representative photographs from his collection. The video will be followed by commentary, questions and answers.

For more information, contact:

Kristie Kirkpatrick at 509-397-4366

For a complete list of events and programs happening in all fourteen Whitman County Library branches, visit the Whitman County Library website or the library's events calendar or call the library at 397-4366 or 877-733-3375 toll-free.