My first year as a serious photographer coincided with my major life quest to see the world. I set out to explore South America then Europe. It was to be the start of 1000’s of miles of wandering and 1000’s of photos of our beautiful world. In that first year I lingered for three months on the Galapagos Islands where the animal and bird life on craggy volcanic islands was surrounded by the Pacific Ocean teeming with sea life. I have only a few prints from those travels but the memories still fill my dreams.
Supported financially by work as a financial director for geophysicists then biomedical researchers in Boston, I continued to explore photography in every spare moment. Near the end of many years of making images and reveling in the beauty of landscapes on the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts I found a brilliant photographer, Harold Feinstein who had chronicled the Korean War as a young soldier/photographer going on to fame with images in Life and Look and books about real life on Coney Island. He taught a deceptively simple class called “Photography for the Love of It”. He demonstrated a devotion to loving life and creating beautiful images. That philosophy has stayed with me. In those days of black and white film, I worked in makeshift darkrooms in bathrooms, closets and eventually in scientific darkrooms at the Boston City Morgue. I was enchanted by the magical feeling of developing and printing my own images. I still miss all that magic except for the acrid chemicals.
After several years as Vice President of the Burns and Allen Research Institute at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, I embarked on a new exploration that led me to my current life in the village of Corrales New Mexico. Now devoting full time to photography, travel and my lovely big poodle Willa, I have participated in several photography groups and numerous photography workshops to sharpen my skills while continuing my quest to see many lands. Creating a body of work with horses as a major subject of concentration, I try to minimize involvement in the competitive side of photography but instead have enjoyed exhibitions at Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, NM, the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, TX and taken part in exhibitions at the New Mexico Cancer Center Gallery With a Cause in Albuquerque, NM, etc. My new work with infrared has been mentored by Laurie Klein and the Santa Fe Photography Workshops.
Currently I am traveling with Nikon cameras (D850, D810 and a D800e converted to Infrared use) my lenses span from 10mm to 600mm in a variety of zoom and prime models. I use only digital equipment now and use editing products like LightRoom, Photoshop, Luminar and Nik filters. My subject matter still includes so many breeds of horses that I meet from New Mexico to Mongolia but has expanded to birds in the Americas, landscapes from the Arctic Circle to South Georgia Island. My newest passion is the magical infrared photography. Next stop Antarctica in 2019 for more penguins and whales!
For the New Mexico Cancer Center Exhibition 2018
You see the kinship in the glint of the horse’s eye, the sweet extension of a foreleg reaching out to another horse. You may feel the trickle of a tear. You let out a sigh of “ahhhh,” because viewing a Cheryl Cathcart photograph is both physical and emotional. “Cathcart has combined her love of horses and photography and the result was an amazing collection of images that capture the power and grace of the animals.
“Cathcart began to focus her photography on horses about ten years ago. Why horses? “The hugest of eyes can be soulfully gentle or wildly inflamed,” she said. “The exquisite body conformation reveals muscled velvet and steel. Their sociable nature is heart-warming both with each other and with us.”
The collection “In A World of Horses” features horses from France, Portugal, Italy, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and recently incorporates new images from Morocco Mongolia, and Iceland. During the last four years exhibitions large and small have been hosted at New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, Texas and various smaller venues in New Mexico including a previous exhibition at the New Mexico Cancer Center in 2016.
In addition to large photographs of horses included the New Mexico Cancer Center exhibition the Architecture of Beauty in fall 2018, Cathcart will be presenting an exciting new project from a camera converted to capture the spectrum from very red to Infrared light. With the use of filters and addition of false colors this is a new exploration into the mysteries of boundaries beyond the normal light spectrum available to our human eyes. While contemplating what the Hubble Telescope is capturing in probing the far reaches of the universe, expanding what we can see with the aid of infrared sensitive cameras, this is now an area of exploration locally for Cathcart. Infrared images challenge our comfortable feelings of the known world of green trees, blue sky and water, or all the warm tones of the human body. Light reflects off objects in surprising ways with infrared, sometimes seeming to penetrate and reveal beneath the surface of skin or through light layers of clouds or out beyond the edges of the known universe and at other times shrouding landscapes, skyscapes or even the eyes in dark impenetrable mysteries.