Kremmling photographer practices the art of waiting
April 4, 2008
Photographer Michael Broughton has lived in Kremmling for about seven years with his wife.
But don’t expect to find him sitting around the house.
Neighbors are accustom to seeing him in his red Jeep “tooling around, looking for shots.”
The artist prefers being out in the field, where he is happiest.
He could be standing in the middle of an actual field, on the crest of a canyon or knee-deep in an icy river ” waiting for the perfect shot.
“It’s my zen,” he said. “Being exposed every day to nature, for me is healing … every day is different.”
He returns again and again to the same spot, where he will wait all day for the perfect lighting.
He’s completed a series of trips to Utah, where he is working on a project for the Canyonlands National Park Service and has been using his lens to catalog plant life at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
Broughton’s early years were shared in residences between Colorado and California. He ended up back in California in 1981 after he started hitchhiking for what was originally planned as a trip to Maine (long story). He returned to the Rocky Mountains after brother Chris (of Granby) “called up and said quite bluntly, ‘It’s time to come home.'”
He said he “always wanted to settle in the mountains,” and spent a few years in Silverthorne, where he met his wife (and oft-times key-grip) Lee Ann.
“She’s my brain, my voice of reason,” he said. The couple now enjoys a place up on Gore Pass, an area the photographer said is also a huge inspiration. He is “fascinated by the different beauty that exists out there. There’s beauty in so many everyday things. We tend to get conditioned to our environment, where we don’t appreciate it.”
Broughton discovered photography quite by accident when he was given his first 35 mm camera while serving as a company photographer for the European armed services. He was promoted to battalion photographer, then to brigade photographer, and was eventually assigned a position as assistant post photographer at Grafenwoehr, Germany.
Returning to the states, he worked in commercial photo labs for six years.
“When you do something long enough, you either get good at it or have the common sense to go on to something else,” he said.
Until three years ago, Broughton continued his photography as a personal pleasure, but his family encouraged him to make it a larger part of his life.
Broughton opened a gallery in Kremmling, which he ran for about two years, but felt more at ease at a private studio in his home. There, his company offers every aspect of photography service ” portraits, weddings, and images of nature and travel. He also offers printing services. He is also thinking of putting out calendars ” maybe even a book within the next couple years.
His tools are of the best quality, and if he can’t get the quality he’s looking for off the market, Broughton fashions the items himself. He admits he’s taken apart and reconstructed most of the equipment he uses today, including his “super computer,” a sixth-generation build.
His prints and giclees feature archival inks on 100-percent cotton, acid-free archival paper.
It took him five years to be comfortable with the final product, but even now he admits he’s never satisfied. About 90 percent of what he shoots doesn’t meet his own standards.
For those interested in pursuing photography, Broughton, who has been perfecting his techniques and talent for 32 years, said “You’ve got to be an expert in many aspects. It’s not enough to be pretty good. You have to be super-skilled … with heart, vision, imagination and technical ability” through what can be, at times “great pain and suffering.”
“Don’t pay attention to naysayers when they start to dampen your spirits,” he continued. “Never give up your vision. Practice, practice, practice, and as long as you stay committed and dedicated, you’ll get somewhere. I believe anyone can do anything if you’re willing to pay the price.”
Broughton’s work (that he donated) can be seen on the walls of the conference room at the Kremmling Chamber of Commerce. One is of a misty green and blue waterfall at Yosemite National Park, another of Boulder Falls, a third of Moab’s majestic Fisher Towers on U.S. Highway 128.
Another detailed image, a 34 x 60-inch giclee of a pair of rowers on Wolford Mountain Reservoir, is on display at a coffee shop in Kremmling.
“I love to give back,” he said. “I like to support the arts and local communities.”
Broughton’s next project highlights large ranches in the Middle Park area, “to capture something totally unique and beautiful that exemplifies Kremmling.” Those ranches willing to participate are encouraged to contact him.
For more information or to view samples of his work, visit http://www.mbroughton.com.