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A Shot in the West

by Elizabeth Ream


ASMP Photographer George Kamper has made quite a change to his overall approach to photography, deciding that "finding the light may be more efficient than creating it." George found the light he needed for his most recent defining series, The West, in the desert city of Moab, Utah.




The series was shot at a working ranch in Moab, with a crew of just George, his wife Sherryl, and a couple of cowboys. George and Sherry combined a Las Vegas trip to the NAB show with the trip to Moab for the shoot, where she held the reflector and helped with wardrobe while George was behind the lens.


George described how this simple approach benefited the series. "There's the urge to art-direct the wardrobe and every element in the shot. I'm trying to lay off and allow the authenticity of the environment and talent to come through, which I think is very effective in 'The West' images and video."




By approaching the shoot in this way, and getting to know the participants on a personal level, George achieved his goal: to capture the stoic, wrangling, horseback-riding everyday life of the All-American cowboy.


In addition to the cowboys, George also shot landscape images of his surroundings, utilizing only the powerful desert sun to create a realistic look at the vastness of the west, saying, "The scenic images were found by walking and driving around. We didn't have a scout or anyone do any pre-pro work. I really wanted these to be emotional and spontaneous and much more about the aesthetic then a normal, well-planned shoot."




The response he received from the stinkingly real quality of "The West" series came as a surprise to George himself.


"It's amazing to me how this series has become a defining look for us. Even when we're shooting lifestyle images for Pharma clients, Tourism work, or a series for a Sunglasses client, they all have referred to 'The West' as the look they want to accomplish, or the reality of the scenes they want to achieve."




George has animated " The West" images, and is now sending out Moving the West, which is a "garnering great reviews."


View more of George's work, and keep up with "Moving the West" at