Eckels at Eccles: David D. Eckels Photography

Ray Balhorn

August – October 2013

The Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library
The University of Utah
10 N. 1900 E. Salt Lake City


About David D. Eckels


David D. Eckles

David D. Eckels


My interest in photography began at the encouragement of my father when I was about 12. To get me to stop bothering him one time, he said, “Go take some pictures” with his Argus C3 rangefinder 35 mm film camera. I’ll never forget his words when we looked at the slides together, “Wow, David, you have a great eye!” Soon after, he bought my first camera for Christmas, a Mamiya Sekor 500TL. From there, I learned everything I could from books and magazines; I’ll never forget how excited I was to start my first photography course in early high school where I learned the basics of darkroom work. Dad continued to encourage with a Durst M300 enlarger. I begged and borrowed to outfit my own B/W darkroom in a cubbyhole beneath the stairs of our rented house. My mother was an artist and supported herself selling oil paintings in weekend shows at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. She was never really interested in photography, but she taught me to study light: Often she would pause, or even stop the car, to point out how a particular “scene” was lit. She had a fascination with sunsets, which was transmitted to me. In her later years, when she realized my interest in fine art photography, she would often encourage me with the simple question, “When are you going to do more of this?” I guess that time has come and I only wish she’d lived long enough to see my first show.

Unfortunately, many years ago, I began to develop allergies to photo chemicals, which forced me to abandon the darkroom; I was still a student and could not afford to have a lab do my work and besides, that would spoil the fun! So I devoted myself to my scientific career in biomedical research and transplantation. Thirty-five years later, it was my dad who again inspired me by suggesting I look at a digital SLR noting that with Photoshop, no “wet work” was required. Like finding a long-lost love, needless to say, my passion has been rediscovered, and its rekindling has resulted in what you see here.

In the early days, like most with interest in photography, I was inspired by the work of Ansel Adams and still am, today. I spent many a summer in Yosemite National Park admiring his photographic vistas; there is something about walking in the footsteps of the Masters trying to see what they saw. Lately, I have come to be inspired and challenged by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Annie Leibovitz, Edward Holland, Mark Alberhasky, and David Brookover among others. Indeed there is much to inspire and challenge all over the internet!

Photography is still about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO for exposure (technique), but most of all composition (art). It is a challenge to master the former and the latter confronts and challenges the esthetic sense of every viewer, including the photographer’s! While today’s “digital darkroom” is incredibly powerful and demanding, the best part is, no chemicals! It has been a joy to return to it and share some of my discoveries with you. My interests are eclectic and my subjects are determined by whatever I find in front of me as I wander through this life. I prefer larger format prints, twelve inches and greater. Lately, I have discovered large format metallic paper, aluminum, and glass prints, all of which have perceptually greater dynamic ranges than conventional photo paper. I hope you enjoy what you see!