The artist: Phil Kember, Nevada City |

The artist: Phil Kember, Nevada City

What is your career and your current job title? Professional photographer.

Describe in a sentence or two your art. I photograph Death Valley National Park and the eastern region of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

How long have you been working in this discipline? Ten years.

Why do you do it? It’s a privilege to do this, and I love it.

What do you hope to accomplish? I plan to document Death Valley National Park, both its landscape and its people, for a period of (hopefully) 40-50 years.

Do you create your art with an exact message you want the viewer to receive and if yes, what is that message? No, I have no message. I’m not an environmentalist, I just want to show people all over the world how amazing this place is, this place with an unfortunate name.

Where do you want to be with your art, in terms of part-time versus full-time status, art positions and where your works are seen? For the five-year period prior to moving to Nevada City, I had a gallery of my own work. I plan to open one here in the next few years.

What kind of special training did you take? None. I’m self taught.

What’s your favorite part of your endeavors? Working with my cameras. These large cameras are instruments. They are demanding. It’s easy to make mistakes, but when “played” properly, they provide the finest of results.

What’s your least favorite part of your endeavors? The areas I photograph are prone to strong winds. I have lost many images due to camera shake

How many hours a day, or more appropriate, a week, do you spend on your work? 15-20 hours, between Web work, darkroom, promotion, etc.

Do you consider it hard work and could anyone do it? Yes, it probably is hard work. Most endeavors worthy of the effort are, but I don’t notice it. I’m enjoying the process too much.

Any other comments you’d like to include? I teach an annual Death Valley spring time workshop. It’s well attended with clients coming from all over the world. I also sell my work to all corners of the globe.


“The Artist” appears each week. To suggest a creative talent who should be profiled in this feature, contact Pam Jung at or 477-4232.

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