When everyone has a camera in their pocket, it can be a challenge to pursue landscape photography as a career.
Crystal Hunt, a 1987 graduate of Boiling Springs High School, has met the challenge with her landscapes of local landmarks and scenery. She is an avid outdoorsman and trout fisherman, which also shows up in her photography from time to time.
After graduation, she served in the U.S. Army as a Chinese linguist then earned her master’s degree in organizational leadership development. Hunt lives in a log home in the mountains near Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
This year, she will exhibit at 18 art and craft shows, including Foundry Day, Harrisburg Arts Fest and Jubilee Day. Her photography is also available at other locations including her permanent studio gallery at Carlisle Country Market.
Hunt is a member of the board of the Bubbler Foundation and a member of the Boiling Springs Alumni Association and the Foundry Day Committee.
Q. When did you first become interested in photography?
A. I first became interested in photography when I joined the Army in 1988. I needed a camera to record my memories of people and places. I was hooked when I saw Monterrey, California, and Yosemite National Park.
Q. Your work seems to focus on local sites. What draws you to these places as a photographer?
A. I am drawn to photographing the local area because I am thrilled to be home. It’s ironic that I joined the service to get out of a small town then became so homesick that I couldn’t wait to return. This appreciation is deeply emotional for me.
Q. Your collages of local towns have been featured in a number of places. How did that idea come about, and how do you create those?
A. The idea to create my “hometown series” montages came about when I simply decided to combine my favorite photographs together. Now, I focus on a town’s identity. I research its history and landmarks. It’s not all about places, though. I also focus on “when” a town takes on its uniqueness, such as after dark or during the holidays. It might take me a year or more to get the pictures that I need.
When it comes to physically creating the montage, I first select which pictures I want to use. Then, I begin laying out the pictures symmetrically, such as a town sign in the center, a church in each corner, night shots on the right and left, etc. Once I start creating the montage in Photoshop, the layout happens rather quickly.
Q. What one piece of advice would you give to make everyday photos look better?
A. The one piece of advice I would give to make everyday photos look better is composition. The placement of the subject in the photo as well objects around the subject can make the ordinary look extraordinary. For example, the mill in Boiling Springs looks amazing with a flock of geese flying through its reflection in the water.
Q. In an Instagram world, is there a place for a fine art photographer?
A. In an Instagram world, there is room for a fine art photographer because not everyone with a camera is a fine art photographer, and those with a discerning eye can pick out an amazing photograph. I have seen pictures on social media that are greeted with a chorus of praise, but would be ripped to shreds by professional critics. This is an enlightening, yet recommended, exercise to engage in before posting to Instagram. It’s also a great way to improve as a photographer.