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Issue Date: October 2009


A Natural Fit

Photographer Jeff Biggar brings nature to life with his images.
Matt Beargie, with additional reporting by Brittany Moffat
Photography is not just art or technique for Jeff Biggar — it’s a chance to explore and share the world as he sees it.

Whether it’s a rickety wooden fence engulfed in a field of daisies or horses in midgallop on a dusty path, his photos highlight a slice of the outdoors.

“I’m always looking and seeing subjects maybe a little differently than the average person looking at them,” the photographer says. “I love to capture images that my eyes see as I travel around. I really like to try and see if I can capture them in such a way that they bring life to the subject.”

Biggar will host his first solo exhibit, My Wandering Eyes: Nature as I See It, at the Cleveland Botanical Garden Oct. 16 through Nov. 20. The collection, which will include more than two dozen images captured during the last five years, will be a balance of landscapes and wildlife, Biggar says.

“They’re a diversity of images of keen interest to me and, I hope, of interest to other people,” he says.

One photograph in particular features an almost glowing waterfall cascading behind trees at Ash Cave Falls in Hocking Hills State Park.

“That actually was taken in a light drizzle,” says Biggar. “I find that for a lot of landscapes and particularly waterfalls, I like to use the rain to my advantage, and that’s why you have it looking that way.”

His love for photography began at a young age when his father built a darkroom in the family basement.

“He taught us the art of black and white photography and how to develop our own negatives and how to print black and white prints,” says Biggar. “I enjoyed taking a tool — a camera — and seeing what images I could make.”

Though he spent 33 years working for National City Bank, the search for patterns, textures and colors best seen at the break or close of day remained a strong hobby. Biggar never thought of taking on photography as a vocation for fear it would lose its appeal.

“I always wanted it to be something where it was just a passion that I could do when I wanted,” says Biggar. “Not something that every day I had to think about it and go do something.”

But after retiring three and a half years ago, Biggar used his newly found free time to pursue his passion. He also stepped up his involvement with nonprofits such as the Cleveland Botanical Garden, where he will become president of the board of trustees in January.

“I just love going down there and exploring with my camera both indoors and outdoors and various exhibitions,” he says. “So it’s a perfect blend of my photography interest with my civic community interest to try and help.”

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