Buckhead residents Ed Garcia and Nathan Dean share a passion for photography, but they each took a lifetime to find it. Their exhibition, “Two Old Guys With Cameras” will be on display at the Buckhead Library from April 2 through May 29, 2022, with an opening reception on April 9. The exhibition showcases the photographers’ differing approaches to photographing people. In simplest terms, Nathan says, “I shoot street portraits. [Ed] shoots human interactions.”
Garcia says he’s not pushing 93, but, “maybe just leaning up against it.” Ed had a successful career as a psychotherapist, including a position as Co-director of Training at the Institute for Rational Emotive Therapy in New York City. He and his wife visited over 40 countries, and Ed would record their travels with his camera. Ed didn’t put much thought into the craft of it, and he says, “I had taken photographs, but I never thought that what I took was photography. I was just taking pictures.”
When he retired, Ed took up a unique form of artistic expression. Some folks might take a painting class or take up pottery, but Ed began to create metal sculptures! The largest example of his work is a 15-foot 5,000-pound piece called Pathways to Wisdom that is installed on the Kennesaw State University campus. Metal work became too difficult as Ed got older, so he began to explore other creative outlets. Nathan Dean saw promise in Ed’s photographs and encouraged him to pursue his photography more seriously.
Nathan approaches photography from a completely different angle. He loved making photographs from a young age, and he always had a, “good eye.” Nathan found less time for his hobby as he got older and entered the workforce. His career as a physicist, university professor, dean, and vice president left little time for photography. Like Ed, Nathan would take photographs on his travels, but didn’t pursue any serious photography.
Nathan’s daughter wanted to give him a present when he retired. She is an artist, and she thought it would be nice if the two of them could attend a photography workshop together. That week changed everything for Nathan. He began to understand what it meant to have a “good eye,” and he started his serious study of photography. Nathan dove into the technical concepts of photography and editing, and eventually began teaching photography himself. At this point, Nathan’s photographs have been featured in numerous exhibitions around the country.
Ed gives a lot of credit to Nathan for inspiring his photography. He told me, “Nathan was able to say, ‘wait a minute, this composition is great.’ And ‘look at the expression of that kid.’ All of a sudden I started learning from him that maybe, unconsciously I was able to do these kinds of things.” I think those of us who attend the “Two Old Guys With Cameras” exhibition are lucky that Ed and Nathan met and became friends. Their different styles and strengths have influenced each other’s work, and combined to create a beautiful collection of images.