Sure local photographer captures pretty images, but, she insists, ‘you have to feel something’
Pamela Reed wrote a nice little guest opinion for us back in 2005, shortly after she and her husband moved here from Phoenix.
Then she asked me, “Do you ever have any photographer jobs at the Tucson Citizen? I’ve decided I want to break into photography.”
No. We never do. Our photographers love their editor, and they stay here forever. Sorry. No chance.
Privately, I rolled my eyes over yet another wide-eyed rube deciding to “break into photography.”
Good luck with that, I thought, likening her to those folks who “decide” to become best-selling novelists.
I got my comeuppance 18 months later, when I needed photographs of the wild horses in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests near Pinedale.
Call Pamela Reed, someone advised. She’s got the best ones.
Indeed. She agreed to fire ‘em over, no charge, to illustrate a column I was writing. But was she the very same Pamela Reed? She was.
Wow. So you did it, I noted. She immediately started in on an idea she’d hatched to reunite old pilots with their planes in the “Boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
Black-and-white portraits with their biographies; what did I think?
Brilliant, I assured her. Let me know when you’ve done it and I might write something.
Five months later, picking up my mother at Tucson International Airport, I stumbled upon Reed’s collection of stunning silver gelatin prints.
The airport gallery exhibit was titled, “Days Gone By, the Aircraft of the Boneyard and the Pilots that Flew Them.”
It was breathtaking. My exhausted mother, who had been rerouted all over hell and back that day, insisted on scouring the entire exhibit.
Today, that unstoppable creative force known as Pamela Reed has segued into wedding photography, unexpectedly.
“It’s funny because I swore I would never do weddings,” she says.
But a co-worker kept insisting she wanted Reed to photograph her wedding.
“I did it, she loved it and I loved it.” Why? “The interactions between everyone. The moments.”
Reed – who has spent the past several years researching and shooting film, researching and shooting and then researching and shooting some more – loves portraiture, whether dogs, horses, pilots or brides.
“I’m interested in the journalistic style, but I also want to use fine art,” she says. “I want people to be beautiful. I can’t do the shallow. You have to get to know these people.
“When you look at the photograph, you’ve got to feel something. I’m not into just a pretty picture; you have to feel something.”
It would be difficult, if not impossible, to look at a Pamela Reed photograph without “feeling something.”
What I feel is inspiration. In an era of bailouts and tax cheats and scoundrels, Pamela Reed exemplifies what a person can accomplish with enough desire, determination, passion, high standards and work ethic.
“You have to follow your bliss,” she says.
In tough times like these, that’s a lesson to remember.
Reach Billie Stanton at 573-4664 or email@example.com.
ON THE WEB
See more of Pamela Reed’s work at