Artist Kathleen McFadden describes herself as a bit of a geek when it comes to her deep love and fascination with cameras. For her new addition to the Manitou Springs arts scene, it's a worthwhile fixation.
Before moving to Colorado in February, McFadden, 40, spent most of her life engrossed in photography, working in camera stores and galleries. She settled in Manitou Springs and now has opened Range Gallery, which specializes in panoramic photography and images from vintage cameras, all taken by McFadden. Subjects include landscapes, churches, cowboy Americana and fleeting vignettes she encounters, to name a few.
To accommodate the unique size and shape of her works, McFadden taught herself to frame her photography and has included a frame shop in the gallery.
For her, the process always starts with the camera, not the subject. "I go about it in a little bit of a backwards way," she says with a smile.
Depending on her mood, McFadden will choose from her dozens of cameras for the effect each bestows.
"I'll go out specifically looking for things that would look good rendered with this tool," she explains.
She'll use a 1920s Kodak Brownie to age an image, or a '60s toy camera for a fuzzy, slightly framed look. McFadden also uses paper negatives and pinhole cameras.
For panoramic shots, she uses newer, high-tech cameras that rotate 180 degrees on a tripod. The finished print is then several feet long and undistorted.
At any given time, the gallery will display works taken with cameras that are worth from $3 up to $14,000, and McFadden is eager to share the process of developing and working with each one.
Her next step, she says, is capturing Colorado imagery.
"There's that free spirit ... that rugged individualism ... I'm really interested in going out and shooting," she says. "That's going to take some time to soak up and get into."