BY MARY ANNE STERLING
The beauty of photography—and the science of developing and printing images—captured the imagination of Bloomington native Kendall Reeves in the eighth grade. It continued to hold his interest through his years at Bloomington High School South, and compelled him to study commercial photography at Ivy Tech Community College–Columbus. After graduation, he got his first job working for McGuire Studio Inc., a commercial photographer in Indianapolis. Three years later, in 1989, he opened Spectrum Studio in Bloomington.
In 2003, Reeves, 51, expanded the business to include large-format printing, laminating, and mounting, and soon added graphic and web design services. In 2008, he and his wife, Stephanie, opened gallery406, a fine art gallery at 406 S. Walnut. For the past seven years the studio has been located in the Wicks Building on the north side of the Square, and recently moved to Suite 112 in Fountain Square Mall, next to By Hand Gallery.
Though he once avowed, “I’ll retire before I ever use digital,” now Reeves says he can’t imagine doing his work any other way. “It’s been a learning experience making the transition from film to digital,” he admits, “but I haven’t used film since 2003.”
Even so, Reeves is passionate about the printing process. He believes his hands-on printing experience helped him become a better photographer, and laments that most photographs are no longer printed. “Most family photo albums now are on phones or computers,” Reeves says. “I’m afraid the notion of printing photographs will ultimately die.”
Because so much of his work was in the commercial realm, it was years before Reeves thought of his photography as art. “I never really thought of myself as an artist until I was commissioned by the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce to take the photographs for the book Bloomington: A Contemporary Portrait (Community Communications Inc., 1998),” Reeves says. “I sold quite a few copies of the photographs featured in the book.”
Where do his artistic interests lie? “I’ve always been drawn to things that have seen better times,” he says. “I enjoy documenting things like aging farm equipment and making art out of it.”
His work was recognized in December 2016 by Indiana Artisan, the state’s official juried organization promoting “exceptional art and food from the Hoosier state.” His work can be viewed online at gallery406.com.
THROUGH HIS LENS
Local photographic artist Kendall Reeves shares more of his fine art images in this photo gallery: