Barbara Grist in focus

Olio Food and Wine Cafe is showcasing two unique and different photographers. This is the first time they have featured photographers in their display and Barbara Grist, a Cortez resident, is one of them. Originally from Kansas and Oklahoma, Grist moved to Cortez in 1985. Her 14-piece collection of digital photographs highlight movement, color and culture.

How long have you been a photographer?

Well, I took my first photography courses in college, that was in the late 70s, and I really loved it so Iíve been taking pictures ever since.

Describe your photography.

The images I like the best are ones you have to get involved with. Theyíre close to abstract but not completely. I use art elements and design elements like color, movement, pattern and texture. I want people to spend some time looking at them so they can feel some kind of emotion. I like things that push the limits a little bit to create something more unexpected to the user.

What inspires your photography?

I love people. Whether they are in this area or from the places where I travel. People are always interesting to me, and so is architecture and nature. I do love seeing what images I can create from movement. I would like to get back to black and white photography and shooting film. That gets me back to my roots and keeps me grounded.

What is the theme of your current collection?

Itís untitled. All of the larger images, over half of the collection, were shot in India and they are realistic and dance photos. The other half were shot in Mexico and those are also of dancers. The larger photos are printed on metallic paper to help the images pop and create a sheen. It helps represent or resemble the fabric, especially with the India images. One image is printed on aluminum.

What was the process for this collection?

I kind of have a theme of dance images collecting since 2008. I use different settings on the camera and available light to capture the colors in movement. I donít like the effects of a flash. The place I visited in Mexico was having an arts festival and I wanted to specifically photograph dancers. I had that in mind again in 2010 when I visited Mexico, and this year when I went to India.

What is your favorite thing to photograph?

Nothing in particular, I just always watch the light. If I see light changing Iíll pay attention to what is happening and what the subjects are doing. I love going to developing countries where they have lots of festivities. I like to photograph these hoping to show some kind of emotion that I was feeling. Shadows, fabrics, peopleís faces, are all things that inspire me and Iím really attracted to design.

Who are some of your favorite photographers/artists?

One artist that influenced me was Georgia OíKeefe. The way she painted things by enlarging them inspired me. You knew it wasnít just a painting, she would focus on something and make it seem like it was so much more. Also, Ruth Bernhard. I love her work. It ranged from everyday objects to beautiful nudes. Her use of object and light really created an impact on me. And, local artist Lou Swenson has been a mentor and a friend to me over the years.

What makes a great photograph?

Composition, use of light, value of lights and darks or a range of color and point of view and being able to capture what the photographer is trying to think or feel at that exact moment. Gristís collection will be up until Nov. 3 at Olio, located at 114 West Grand Avenue in Mancos. Grist also photographs for personal or business use. For more information on Barbara Grist and her photography visit

Q&A compiled by Rachel Segura, Cortez Journal.


Courtesy photo


Courtesy photo


Courtesy photo