Linden photographer finds beauty in the unexpected

By Josette Keelor

LINDEN — Barbara Moore of Linden recently remembered the first artistic photo she took. on vacation in Chincoteague with a borrowed 35-millimeter camera. She stopped for a pristine white mushroom growing from a pile of steaming wild pony manure.

It was the mushroom’s perfection that stole her attention.

“Not a piece of you know what on it,” she recently remembered. “That just started something in me.”

Seeing beauty that others overlook is something she said makes her work stand out.

“It takes guts to be nuts,” she said. “You keep looking, and you see more.”

“Everybody starts out with ‘Oh, isn’t this pretty?'” said Moore, who made a career of shooting what she called “pretty pictures.”

All that almost ended in 2003 when she retired from her 32 years as a photographer — 17 at her own studio in Herndon — and moved to Linden. She was seeing 1,000 customers a year and she needed to stop while she could.

Then in 2008 she used a Nikon D50 digital camera for the first time, and within two years she was back in business.

Now 72, Moore admitted she doesn’t know what she’s going to do with all her photos, but she shoots everything that strikes her and never deletes anything in case she can reuse it later.

When you’re older, you’re bolder, she explained. You take chances. And viewing photography from a fine art perspective makes her work more fun.

“Life is too short not to enjoy it thoroughly,” she said.

She shows her art through her website and around the region, this weekend heading to the Capital Home & Garden Show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly.

Conveniently situated near the end of winter when attendees are hopeful of spring, the show brought her more business than she expected last year — not the case last fall, when people weren’t “stir crazy” like she said they are in February.

The only fine artist at last year’s show, she said customers looking to brighten their homes were drawn to the vibrant colors she features. They’re often surprised to learn how she makes the colors, particularly for abstracts.

She’s attracted to how light forms unexpected designs, like a treble clef from the taillights of a car at night, or various neon shapes she shot on the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disney World.

While there with her family, she said, they were all shooting aliens, and “I was shooting pictures.”

“Wherever your eyes can go, there’s a picture,” she said, and on the 11 ½ acres she and her husband bought overlooking the mountains of Warren County, there’s a lot for her eyes to notice.

Standing on her wraparound deck recently, watching the setting sun shine against ridges in the snow-covered hillside below, she captured the blue before it faded into dusky white.

“These are going to be beautiful,” she said.

The Capital Home & Garden Show will be from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Dulles Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly. For more information, call 703-378-0910 or visit www.dullesexpo.com. For more about Barbara Moore’s photography, visit www.barbmoorefineartphotography.com.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com