We had the good fortune of connecting with Bob Coates and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bob, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
The work life balance question is an interesting one. I have always been pretty busy and productive over the years. but I found myself working way too many hours. I discovered this when I overheard my wife telling someone that I worked all the time. I didn’t take that too much to heart until… At a photography convention in Las Vegas there were the ‘Five from Down Under’ presenting a program. The first four were about image creation and portraiture. The last speaker was a woman and as she addressed the audience she said, “I’m not going to talk about photography but your business. And I’d just like to tell you a story about my husband and my photography business ..” She shared a long entertaining story about this and that in their work life. Then she said, “…and then I went to answer the door and there was someone telling me my husband was dead!” You could have heard a pin drop on the carpet in a room of 1700 people. She then went on to share that they didn’t have photos together, didn’t get a lot of time to enjoy each other’s company before he passed. I immediately turned to my wife and said, ” Every Wednesday is now designated ‘Holly-Day’ and we’ll do whatever you would like. And pick the places you want to go because each year we will now take a two week vacation. The end result was business increased. I made more money working less hours. I got way more done when I put a time limit into place. There was proof that the expression, ‘Work will fill to the time allotted to it.’
‘Days End’ is a Sedona, Arizona panoramic image created from multiple images. Additional depth and dimension was painted and texture added. This makes the image appear different in different lighting situations or different viewing differences. The framed print is available through Gallery of Modern Masters as a 72 inch framed print. http://
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My work is a cross between reality and fantasy. When I lean toward the surreal I always try to create a reality within the fantasy. Shadows are realistic. Added images have the quality of having been in the scene all along. I’ve been told that my work has a Zen feel. Many times it is better to let someone else share his or her thoughts about my work. Here are a couple notes I received. “The photographic artistry of Bob Coates is as diverse as it is excellent His work spans the gamut from gritty character studies to scenic landscape images and from fine art still life images to real life essays. To capture such a broad range of imagery is rare, but to do this with unprecedented craftsmanship is surreal… but that is exactly what you get from a Bob Coates image. “ Steve Kozak – M.Photog.Cr., CPP “With ‘The Last Stand’, it was the contrast and strength of the image that moved me. Also, I love the fact that it’s so different from any of my other black and whites – no two photographers print the same way. With this image, I just loved the power of it and the bigger it gets, the more dramatic it’s going to feel.” Skip – S. B. Cohen President Marketing Essentials International All of my work is based on images produced through the lens of a camera. After that all bets are off as I manipulate the final art in many ways. Extract portions of images for simplification or combination with others. Enhance color. Push highlights and shadows to create more depth and dimension. As a youngster I studied art but would often find myself ripping the work to pieces as I could not create what I envisioned in my head. With the new tools and techniques I have honed over the years my mind is an art playground and I hope others enjoy my creations as much as I do. When making a commissioned piece I will work in tandem to create a work with the look and feel that the client wants. This involves lots of communication from the beginning. Do you want the art to jump from the wall? Or be a subtle piece that calls gently? What main subject and secondary subjects will be part of the story? What color palette works with the environment where it will hang? What size, printed surface, presentation/framing are wanted? These are just a few of the exploratory questions that need to be answered before work can begin.
‘Dance of the Snowy Egret’ was the result of the photographing multiple images of an egret fishing in shallow water. The framed print is available through Gallery of Modern Masters as a 70 inch framed print. http://
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Sedona is as wonderful destination. For those physically fit, biking and hiking trails abound! Some of my favorites are in the Village of Oak Creek about five miles south of Sedona proper. Bell Rock Pathway has gentle hikes with ever-changing scenery. For the slightly more adventurous the Courthouse Butte Loop Trail goes into wilderness areas. Crescent Moon State Park at Red Rock Crossing puts you in a stroll mode near Oak Creek with a spectacular view of Cathedral Rock. Jeep tours get you a closer look into the red rocks. 15-minute helicopter tours and balloon rides provide an aerial view. Restaurants are numerous. Breakfast at the Coffee Pot restaurant on 89A is very popular with 101 omelettes on the menu. The Red Rock Café is a popular breakfast and lunch restaurant in the Village of Oak Creek. For pizza I recommend Famous Pizza and Beer for those that like the east coast style pizza. For a more specialty thin crust imported Italian meat pizza it’s Rotten Johnny’s in The Collective Plaza, VOC. Dinner with a view Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill. With a view and live entertainment, Sound Bites Grill at Hyatt Pinion Point. With a view The Hudson restaurant in Hillside Plaza and for Italian I recommend Gerardos Italian.‘Taking Flight’ I took over 200 tries to capture the sequence of the Sandhill Cranes. Select frames were extracted and a scene built around the behavior of getting airborne. Image available through the Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. https://art.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost I have to thank my wife Holly. She bought me my first camera and lenses while we were still dating. She recognized something in me that I didn’t know I had. She has been my wife, best friend, cheerleader, bookkeeper and so much more. She has made it possible for me to accomplish the things I have done. On the professional side, I have been a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA) since 1997. The organization has provided networking, education and imaging competition that keeps pushing me to be more creative and to push my skills to a new level. In the state the Arizona Professional Photographers Association has been a big part of my education as well. Even though I have had to drive almost two hours in each direction to attend meetings I have continued to do so for over twenty years. in part to keep the education going and in part to give back to those coming up in the industry. Last but not least, I stand upon the shoulders of all those photographers who have come before me. Hopefully, I can be a leg up to photographer/artists who follow me.
‘Bluebirds’ Image available through the Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. https://art.
Other: http://bcphotography.com http://successful-photographer.com
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