Fairchild combines passions to create business, gallery


Courtesy Photo
A snowy owl begins to take flight off of the Departure of the Great Blue Herons statue in Alpena earlier this winter. Local photographer Jeff Farichild was able to capture many photos of the arctic bird that is visiting from thousands of miles away.

ALPENA — Jeff Fairchild grew up with a camera in his hand and loved the outdoors and the wildlife that inhabits it.

Over the years he combined his passion for both to become a professional photographer who recently opened a new gallery in the Center Building in downtown Alpena.

His work has led to some of his images being featured in calendars sponsored by PBS and also earned notoriety by placing high in other photo contests.

“I always had a camera in my hand growing up. I had the Fisher-Price camera and I loved taking pictures with it,” Fairchild said. “I was born in Alpena and my dad was involved with the Audubon Society and the birds and the outdoors as a whole.”

Fairchild said he always had an affinity for art and dabbled in many different methods of creating it. He said photography was the one that was the most fulfilling for him, and prompted him to pursue a career in taking pictures.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz
Jeff Fairchild adjusts a light that shines on one of his photos in his shop in downtown Alpena. He hopes to make prints of some of his best work available for purchase as his business grows.

“I tried the fine arts, drawing, painting, sculpting, and even taxidermy, but none of it felt right and scratched my itch,” he said. “With photography, especially with digital equipment, I can take photos and use the filters and editing process to be creative. I want to get to the point where someone looks at one of my photos and know I took it. I’m not there yet, but that’s the goal.”

Farchild’s company, Jeff Fairchild Photography LLC, has his gallery conveniently located downtown in the lower level of the Center Building. He said the location is great and he’s hopeful he receives a lot of customers, especially as the peak tourism season begins.

The lines of the gallery are lined with framed photos of familiar landscape scenes from the Alpena area, and many closeups of animals that, with the help of technology, are zoomed in tight so a person can see the most minute details.

Fairchild said he is also in the process of making prints of some of his most popular work, such as the snowy owl that is in Alpena, available for purchase. Getting more involved and working with others in the business community is another goal, Fairchild said.

“I want to work with other businesses and try to get my name out there more as someone who does good work,” Fairchild said. “I want to continue to use high quality products like real wood frames and glass and just create art that people are going to appreciate and want to have hanging on their wall to enjoy.”

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A beaver nibbles on a twig while its likeness reflects off the water in this photo taken by Jeff Fairchild.

The invention of digital photography and quality cameras on mobile devices has encouraged many people to take photographs as a hobby or career. Fairchild said novice photographers can sharpen their skills, and take better pictures by simply taking a lot of photos.

“Take as many pictures as you can. Hundreds or thousands of them,” he said. “Study your appa

cture, shutter speed, and ISO. Take a ton of pictures and see how they indirectly affect each other for different end results. Experiment a little and have fun.”

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz
Jeff Farichild shows off some of his photo work that is on display at Art in the Loft in Alpena. He said he intends to work with other businesses to help promote the quality of his work and bolster interest in his product.

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Professional photographer Jeff Fairchild searches for his next shot while taking a walk through the wilderness. He said he tries to blend in and remain undetected so as to not stress out the animals and ruin a good photo opportunity.

Courtesy Photo
Two elk butt heads in a photo taken by Jeff Fairchild. Animals and nature are featured in many of the photos on display in his new gallery in the Center Building in Alpena.

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Fairchild combines passions to create business, gallery

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