Member Spotlight: Charles Dexter

Color photo of distant mountains reflected in lake. Sangre de Cristo Mts. Colorado © Charles Dexter

Sangre de Cristo Mts. Colorado © Charles Dexter

Charles Dexter’s work is inspired by the photographic traditions of the Sierra Club. He joined the New York City Sierra Club Photography Committee in 1992. His photography is constantly enriched by his association with many of its members and the influence of their work. He has exhibited in many NYC Sierra Club Photography Committee Group shows, most recently, Colors of the Season at the Empire State Building. He is a past Chairman of the group.

“When I attended my first Sierra Club Photography Committee meeting in November, 1992, Bob Smith chaired the meeting, Charlie Ridgeway ran the slide projector and John Smith maintained the attendance clipboard. The following meeting was a member’s night. I saw something I never could have imagined in New York City: over 300 slides amassed by a room full of people devoted to photographing nature. The main topic of discussion was “Hand of Man” versus “No hand of Man” and the running joke was “Foot of Woman.” I couldn’t believe there was a whole group of people devoted to this!”

“Before I joined the group, I photographed landscapes and nature but I was shooting alone. There was no one to share and compare images with. My first encounter with the group was a field trip to Fahnestock State Park led by Jacqui Bonavito. Imagine an outing of eight or nine people, everyone with a camera and five of them actually brought a tripod. I hadn’t. This was new to me…”

Charles developed a love for high places, wilderness, and photography on the Palisades cliffs of New Jersey. He continually returned to the same mile and a half stretch of the Palisades to photograph the changing light and foliage on the unchanging rock formations throughout the four seasons. His photographic passion expanded to include high peaks and wild places when he took a ten-day Outward Bound course in Colorado’s Gore Mountain range.

“I’ve learned more about photographing nature in my first few years with the Sierra Club Photo Committee then I did in 14 years of shooting alone. The Photography Committee gave me so much enjoyment. Along with meeting Linda Calvet (the Love of my life), I’ve met many committee photographers who would become long time friends and I have learned so much from them. The shared experiences, the meetings, the field trips, the group exhibits and, of course, the great photography that our group has created over the years has been positively thrilling!”

With his camera, Charles pursues his love for the intimate and grand landscapes in the Hudson Highlands, the Delaware Water Gap region, and the Catskill Mountains. He also photographs with equal passion the rugged mountain vistas, canyons, waterfalls and wild flowers of Colorado. He explores the qualities of light, form and texture found in those regions. With telephoto and macro lenses, he explores abstract scenes and patterns found in nature.

“Even though I try to isolate and simplify scenes of nature into shapes, color and design, I still want the viewer to feel the wonder and power of the natural landscape outside of the frame.”

Charles Dexter’s solo photography exhibits have been displayed at Berkeley College in Manhattan and The Greenbrook Sanctuary in Tenafly, NJ. His images were published in Audubon Magazine and by the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club. His work is also featured on album covers for Sonoton Production Library Music CDs. He photographed dance performance groups such as Serena Mideast Dance Theater and Multi-Gravitational Aero Dance Group.

Charles has a background as a filmmaker and sound editor. He works freelance as a production music selector for corporate videos. He has worked with producers and ad agencies to score prerecorded library music and sounds to television commercials, radio spots, broadcast TV shows as well as corporate, motivational and educational programs. Charles has a BFA from Pratt Institute where he studied filmmaking and cinematography. He created three 30-minute 16mm documentary films. One of them, Ascend the Bells, is about climbing the Maroon Bell Peaks in Colorado.

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