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Expat Life

Brian Buckner: The story of an artist

Editor’s Note: Brian Buckner’s photographic exhibition, “Decisive Moment: Hidden Jewels of the Andes” opens Thursday, June 28 at 7 p.m. at the Museo de la Ciudad, corner of Gran Colombia and Benigno Malo. The exhibit continues through July 31.

By Edie Buckner

Everyone loves a good story, and some of the best ones are true. Get something warm to drink and settle in, because you’re about to hear a doozy.

This story begins at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana. The date is May 7, 1955. We are watching an event unfold which will set in motion a trajectory whose terminus is Cuenca, Ecuador. Brian Buckner is born.

I caught up with Brian in 1973. We were both 18 years old and seniors in high school. What set Brian apart, even then, was passion. If he was

Edie Buckner

interested in something, Brian invested everything he had in the pursuit, and, ultimately, the mastery of his new arena. This was true of water skiing, fishing, hunting, marksmanship, business, and ultimately, photography. If a passion was worth pursuing, Brian was not satisfied to settle for anything less than to be the very best that he could be.

Brian’s life included the usual milestones. He married (me), he worked, we had a daughter, he worked some more. Brian grew one business from a manufacturing facility that profited in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual sales to one that produced several million. He then sold his interest in that business and purchased two more. Then, his path diverged in a way that he had never considered.

Brian Buckner

At times, something intervenes in our best laid plans and we find ourselves on a path that was not anticipated, and yet, is perfect. Brian is not the least bit shy or hesitant about stating that the intervention in his case was divine.

Brian did not begin to seriously pursue photography until the second decade of 2000. Shreveport, Louisiana has a Photo Society which includes some of the most remarkable talent and some of the best mentors that a guy could ever hope for. When his friend, Wayne Tabor, the man who suggested that Brian might enjoy competition shooting, encouraged Brian to pursue photography, the die was cast.

Like so many other things in his life, Brian gave himself to photography wholly and without hesitation. First as a hobby and soon after as a vocation, Brian began to master the technical expertise and artistic vision that make his photographs stand apart as something “other.” This is not your Grandma’s selfie. This is art.

If you are thinking that my opinion is biased, sharing, as I do, hearth and home with the artist, let’s take a look at who else considers Brian’s photography worthy of accolades and praise:

The City of Shreveport, Louisiana named Brian the “Visual Artist of the Year” in 2015, one of only two photographers to ever receive this award. This award was given on the recommendation of Robert Pincus, art critic, art historian, and art professor at San Diego University.

Brian’s submission of a product photograph highlighting chocolate and the celebration of Valentine’s Day won the regard of a panel of International photographers who chose his image as their favorite among the entries.

Brian’s photos have been published in books, used in advertising campaigns, currently hang in a number of corporate collections and are about to make history in the city of Cuenca, Ecuador, many miles from where this journey began.

On June 28, 2018, the first solo show of photography by an extranjero will have its opening night in the Museo de la Ciudad, Escuela Central, the premier exhibit space in the city of Cuenca. Brian’s exhibit concentrates on images taken high in the Andes mountains surrounding Cuenca. Because of their remote locations, some of these scenes may be more familiar to the artist than they are to people who have spent their lives in this city.

The photographs will be presented in a very large format. Brian wishes to allow the viewer the opportunity to experience the sensation of actually “being there”, immersing themselves in the quiet and majesty of the Andes, a pastime that Brian has come to rely on. It brings him joy, it brings him peace, it brings him closer to being able to touch that which he considers divine.