June 14, 2012- Program- Finding Common Ground, David Bahr

Many galleries and collectors feel a stagnation in “traditional” nature photography, with too much emphasis on the same ‘ol shots. More Flatirons or golden aspen anyone? I’ll talk about the importance of staying rooted in traditional composition while exploring boundaries and breaking the rules with novel subject matter. In my own work, I have a split personality between those photographs that sell well, and those that I consider boundary-pushing art. Finding common ground is the challenge that keeps me interested.


I have been a photographer since I was first handed a 1970’s vintage Vivitar point-and-shoot.  According to my mom, it was a camera with a PhD (“Push here Dummy”). Despite its quality (ahem), I later migrated to a Pentax K1000, a wonderful little 35mm manual film camera that I’d still recommend for those with a learner’s permit.  Growing up I assumed that I would become a musician, following in the footsteps of my artistic parents, but was later seduced by a different kind of beauty inspired by mathematics and physics.

For many years I was a climate scientist at the University of Colorado and Regis University, developing the techniques used to predict sea-level rise from melting glaciers. During that time, photography was a passion.  Now the roles have reversed: I work full time as a photographer and volunteer my time as a co-author of the forthcoming 2013 United Nations IPCC climate report.


My artwork has been featured by Defenders of Wildlife, National Wildlife Federation, Nature’s Best, and many other artistic and scientific publications, covers, documentaries, and galleries. One of my photographs is currently on display at the Smithsonian. Recent honors include a 2010 Defenders of Wildlife award and a 2011 Windland Smith Rice International award.