Bama, “like a saw or a hammer is to a woodworker,” he explains. During many of his photo sessions, he positioned people to capture the best lighting, pose, and background. He took thousands of photographs, but only a few ever became paintings. “Despite his reliance on photography as a reference, Bama does not consider himself a photorealist,” wrote Thomas B. Smith, Director of the Denver Art Museum’s Petrie Institute of Western American Art, in 2007. “His intention, he argues, is not to recreate photographs, but rather to render his subjects with photographic precision.” Bama is an artist attracted to real people—to their stories, their colorful lives, and their ability as models to call up the past. He likes faces that show signs of character, beauty, attitude, and age. His portraits—and photographs—feature the likeness of a person, as well what they symbolize. As he put it, “Successful people are not nearly as interesting as people that are fighting the battle of life.” Read more about Bama in the western art pages of our website.