Having decided to pick up a camera on a 2007 trip to Israel and Turkey, Mark Hammond, creator of Moonlight 10 Photography in Sedalia, came back home to record hundreds, if not thousands, of Sedalia scenes and buildings. Seventy of those photos will be in a new exhibit, “Shutter Glimpses,” opening Saturday at the Katy Depot.
Hammond, a life-long Sedalia resident and a 1979 graduate of Smith-Cotton High School, didn’t began dabbling in photography until he was 48, beginning with a point-and-shoot camera in 2010. With a love for history and a buried artistic flare, his work has literally exploded into large scale HDR photo pieces printed on glass, metal paper, canvas wrap and vinyl, mostly portraying Sedalia buildings, bridges and roads. All brightly colored and seen through the eye that only a photographer knows and understands.
“I moonlight as a photographer,” Hammond said. “I got laid off in 2010, got bored so I picked up a point-and-shoot that I’d taken to Turkey and Israel with me. I took a few photos and I said ‘wow those turned out nice.’ That’s how I started shooting pictures again.”
Hammond also loves to read so if he saw an interesting photo in a book, he would read up on how to achieve the same look and style. Hungry for knowledge, he said he’d achieve one look and then begin learning about other techniques.
“Then you buy a little software here and a little software there,” he added. “My first D-SLR that I have, we went out to Staples on Mother’s Day, they had a sale, so for Mother’s Day I got a new camera.”
He bought a Canon camera and eventually bought additional lenses and finally moved up to a better digital single-lens reflex camera. Hammond creates HDR photos made by layering the same photo taken at different exposures from 5 to 7 times and up to 32 times or more. When placed together the layers create a high definition photo.
“It’s something that I got into and I absolutely love it,” Hammond said. “The only problem with it is, you can push the saturation sliders too much and I call it clown vomit. It just blows the color — bang.”
Hammond said when he first started out he used too much saturation but with experience has began to make his photos more natural.
“I have one that’s 3-by-4-foot of Sacred Heart Church and it’s 32 pictures put together to make that one,” he said.
“I’m a history buff, and I love Becky Imhauser’s books,” he added. “So I read her books and I see pictures in them and I say I’m going to go downtown an see if I can find any of these old buildings. That’s what really got me started. You look at (some) pictures and they have beautiful sunsets and mountains and rivers and we don’t have any of that — Missouri’s farm land, that’s all we’ve got.”
He has done a good job of finding subject matter around town and seeing it in a different way.
“People will say where’s that at?” Hammond said. “And I’ll tell them and they’ll say ‘no it’s not, I’ve walked by that a hundred times, is it still there?’ Well yes it is, it’s because they just don’t see it. As a photographer that’s kind of my job, I want you to see the things that you look at in a different way. Sedalia’s a gorgeous town if you stop and take the time. We’re such a diverse town.”
He said he grabs his camera and walks around Sedalia’s downtown, never knowing what his subject will be.
“I just start walking down the alleys and down the backs of the buildings. You look at the parking lots and a lot of them used to be buildings, and some day a lot of the buildings will be parking lots.”
Creating his own moment in history, Hammond has focused on making panoramic photos of every block of Sedalia’s downtown area, from Main Street to Broadway Boulevard. Hammond said he spent seven hours of computer time working on each one.
“One of them is 4-foot long to get all of the buildings in it,” he said.
He also enjoys photographing the interiors of local buildings.
“There’s buildings I’ve asked to get into, there’s one in particular that I asked about one week ago and the owner said ‘no, did you know this used to be a brothel?’ And I said, ‘yes can I please go and take pictures?’”
Being alone when shooting photos of buildings is important to him, he added, because he is better able to concentrate on the subject matter, composition and angles. He also finds relaxation and creativity while searching for the perfect shot.
“I don’t talk, everyone wants to go with me when I shoot pictures — I am looking,” he said. “Don’t talk to me, I’m not ignoring you, but yes I am.”
Hammond said his plans for the future include branching out into other nearby areas of Missouri but still shooting landscapes and architectural images, and still finding that magic in being able to see beyond just a regular shot of a neglected building or vintage object.
“I want to go to the Confederate place up by Higginsville,” he said with enthusiasm. “I want to shoot the Lexington area, and I want to go down to Springfield … and Arrow Rock. There’s a lot of places around here that’s just wonderful.”
Hammond’s current show opens with a reception from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Katy Depot and will run until April 26. For more information on his photography visit facebook.com/Moonlight10Photography or visit his website at Moonlight10photography.zenfolio.com.
The Katy Depot, 600 E Third St., is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and can be reached at 826-2932.