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Meet the Artist: Gary Randall posted on 07/27/2023
By Amber Ford
The Mountain Times

As the alpine glow of Mt. Hood shines down upon residents, inspiring them in all sorts of creative and artistic ways, local artist and long time Mt. Hood Villages resident Gary Randall is taking advantage of his home and the natural beauty that inspires his work daily. Voted “most talented” in high school, Randall, a self-taught artist, has been creating works of art for most of his life. “I have always wanted to be an artist,” Randall said. “Even as a young boy I would draw and paint. Photography was also a part of the formula once I was given my first camera at six years old,” Randall added.
As with most artists new to the craft, Randall was unaware of the ability to make a living while creating the art he knew he loved. “Art was never something that I perceived to be a good way of making a living. It was a great hobby, but I went to work in heavy industry,” Randall said. After experiencing many personal tragedies in his life, Randall made the leap of artistic faith 25 years ago and transitioned into a career of passion. “I decided to become a photographer, concentrating on taking photos of landscapes and the wilderness I was hiking to,” Randall said. “I was fortunate to have started my artistic journey at the beginning of the digital photography revolution and have been able to develop a situation that has become my identity and my way of life,” Randall added.
While Randall has dabbled in different types of art across the creativity spectrum, he acknowledges his infinite love and admiration for photography as his primary medium as an artist. “In the past I enjoyed carving stone, such as marble and alabaster. I found it relaxing and I really liked the result of my efforts,” Randall said. “I also enjoy sketching and drawing, but there’s no hesitation when I claim photography to be my favorite type of art. I think that having the experience that accompanies the photograph makes it special,” Randall added.
Inspired by local photographer Ray Atkeson, a mid-20th century artist, Randall has been able to shape and create his own work through the examples set forth by photographers that have come before him. “His [Atkeson’s] photos of Mt. Hood are absolutely unmatched,” Randall said. “Although I’m a fan of Ansel Adams, Atkeson’s black and white photos are, in my opinion, head and shoulders above those of Ansel Adams,” Randall added. As a self-taught artist, Randall relies on his lens and the lenses of others proficient in the craft to give him an edge and a  creative eye. “I’m a huge fan of Albert Bierstadt,” Randall said. “I’m fascinated and inspired by the whole Hudson School of Art movement and try to incorporate that style into my photos. I think that if I could paint like that I would never pick up a camera,” Randall added.
A resident of the Mt. Hood Villages for the last 40 years, Randall is an avid traveler, but always finds peace and comfort when he returns to his home on the mountain. As do many other residents in the area, Randall enjoys the many activities the mountain has to offer. Hiking and camping are hobbies that Randall not only enjoys, but they also serve as inspiration for his work. “It’s all part of the process of finding the scenery that serve as subjects for my landscape photos,” Randall said. “I also enjoy collecting local history and vintage photographs of Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge,” Randall added. Crediting his home and the beautiful and natural art that can be viewed almost daily to all who call Mt. Hood home, Randall is constantly inspired to continue his local photography. “Living here on Mt. Hood is overwhelmingly inspirational,” Randall said. “I’ve photographed some breathtaking scenery in epic conditions close to my home. I’m not sure if I’d lived anywhere else when I started this journey that I would be as successful as I am today,” Randall said. “In many ways I owe much of my success to Mt. Hood and the creeks and waterfalls that surround it,” Randall added.
For more information on how to purchase Randall’s photography you can visit his website at  gary-randall.com.
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