Brian Geraths exudes giddiness as he unwraps packaging to find an acrylic print of one of his photographs showing a Whangamat?, New Zealand oceanside landscape — which is accentuated by a strikingly red night sky.
Geraths' goal when he moved from Pendleton to the Portland area to pursue professional photography decades ago was always to delve into the world of scenic fine art. He loves to rise at the crack of dawn to see the light reflect off vistas and landscapes around the world that most people who are sleeping miss out on. However, it wasn't until recently that Geraths — who has been doing portrait photography via Studio B Photography located at 15800 SW Upper Boones Ferry Rd — started shifting his focus to selling his fine art photography. And it's through his joint art gallery that he's beginning to do just that, both online and at the studio, with painter and friend Graham Salisbury.
"I'm 57, and I feel 17 when I look at this," he said. "I've always wanted to do this but didn't know how I wanted to do it."
Geraths, a photographer since his preteen years, was told by his mentor early on in his career that portrait photography was the best way to generate a steady flow of income. This proved to be sage advice.
He was able to establish a persistent small business taking portraits of high school seniors, families and newborn babies, and was also hired by companies to do photography around the world in places like Japan and Australia.
But scenic photography was a side passion he made time for. When he wasn't capturing business meetings or taking headshots, he would explore the natural landscapes and capture their beauty. Geraths said in his photography he hopes to evoke a mood and to make people question that what they are seeing is a photograph and not a painting.
Via his new gallery, available both online and for viewing at the shop, he shows off the photographs he has snapped since 1999. The idea for the joint gallery — which will also make room for other artists — sprouted during a trip Geraths and Salisbury took across the southwestern United States. The goal during that trip was to depict both the sunrise and the sunset at all locations.
"We would do a sunrise shot and then hit the road. We were doing 600-900 miles a day," Geraths said, adding that Salisbury proposed that he would set up shop in a then-unused section of Geraths' studio. A strong business year and support from the Lake Oswego community afforded him time to revamp his studio.
In the gallery, Geraths is just as serious about the way photographs are presented, and he is often showing only acrylic or metallic prints. He is also excited to show off the work of other artists.
"This is creating an opportunity for other artists to be able to eat from the source of their passion if you will," he said. "For me I am excited for that reason, because I know so many people who share my experience. There is amazing talent out there that no one knows about."
The grand opening event — titled "The Color of Gratitude" — is slated to take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, at the Lake Oswego studio. Twenty percent of purchases at this event will go to the Arts Council of Lake Oswego. And Geraths said he hopes to hold regular events to keep the momentum going.
"This isn't my end game. This is the beginning of something I hope to be bigger," Geraths said.
To view the online gallery, visit www.doubleinfinity.art.
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