Agriculture plays a major role in Craig Edwards’ art, as he is both a photographer and a farmer. He works the land his grandfather homesteaded in 1913 and draws artistic inspiration from the landscapes, objects, and wildlife that surrounds him. In fact, nearly all of his photographs are shot within a 50-mile radius of his home outside of Big Sandy, and while that may seem like a limited range, Edwards always finds new and interesting ways to portray his environment. There is always more to be explored and interpreted through his art. Edwards has been a fine arts photographer for about ten years but has been shooting professionally since 1990. Before that, he attended MSU and graduated with an arts degree. He then returned home to work as a sharecropper and a few years later, bought into the family farm. Meanwhile, he put his photography skills to use working as a commercial photographer, mainly shooting weddings. Then, around 2005, Edwards was working with his father on some historical photos for the Big Sandy Historical Museum and the situation made Edwards reflect on his role in the area. “It motivated me to photograph my community in a way I hadn’t before,” says Edwards. All of Edwards’ fine art photography captures this determination to portray the area in a new light. Each image tells a story from Edwards’ point of view, expressing his feelings and opinions about the subject being captured. “I do whatever is necessary to reflect my vision on a subject,” says Edwards, who uses formalistic techniques and some manipulation to bring his images to life. “I’m not big on image manipulation but if it comes organically, a photograph can benefit from it.” Edwards’ style of photography has earned him the honor of being the featured artist at the Havre Art Show this November and he will be a returning artist at the WHA Footprints on the Trail show in Great Falls during Western Art Week. These are limited opportunities to see the artist and his work, as his farm duties prevent him from going to many shows.
However, Edwards’ photography can be viewed in person any time of year at his gallery in Big Sandy. Open Thursday-Saturday, 10am-6pm, Edwards’ gallery features a wide range of work in a cozy setting. While his art is available online as well, Edwards believes that viewing it on a screen takes something away. “The texture and scale of my art is much different in person,” says Edwards. “It creates a much different experience that I encourage people to take advantage of.” Craig Edwards’ gallery is located along Highway 87 in Big Sandy.
For more information, call 406-390-7156 or visit edwardsstudio.com