Member Spotlight: Willow Brown
I was born in Michigan and spent my early childhood near the tiny town of Kalkaska on my grandmother's hunting/fishing resort. I paddled around Selkirk Lake with my trusty little dog amidst the mosquitos and water moccasins until my parents had enough of poverty and hauled my sister and I to sunny Ft. Lauderdale where I lived my teen years on the beach and paddling around the canals amidst the mosquitos and alligators. My family didn't have much money, so my photographs consisted of instamatic snapshots - out of focus and fading color tones.
I married straight out of high school in the summer of '68 and became a college student in Albany, NY, where I studied biology and student radicalism. In 1972 my husband and I moved to Albuquerque, NM and then to Eugene, OR where we submersed ourselves in the counter culture until 1975 when we found a remote log cabin in Nye, MT. During this time frame I upgraded my instamatic to a Konica 35 MM film camera and improved my photography skills taking slides of the anti-war marches in Washington, DC, Renaisance Faires in Oregon, and later the beautiful New Mexico and Montana countryside. During those years I did a little dark room work with a small Bogen enlarger, but money was an object, and the chemicals and paper costs much restricted my creative desires.
During the eighties, I was busy raising my son and working on a ranch in Nye. I learned how to swath, bale and stack hay; lamb and calve and take cute photos of baby animals and ranch life in general. In 1988 we bought a farm in Park City along the Yellowstone River and a Morgan stallion. I raised Morgan horses for the next 20 years. I became quite interested in video filming and cutting and reining competitions and between lambing 300 ewes, raising Sulfolk rams and pretty little Morgan foals, irrigating and haying 600 acres of alfalfa, I was able to haul my stallion and my Panasonic honker of a video camera to a few competitions and video cutting and reining events. After a few years, I grew tired of viewing the events through a movie camera viewfinder and opted for a Nikon N70. I began taking still shots of - well - everything!
When the digital age arrived, I was ready to embrace it and the reduced costs of my favorite hobby. I received a little Sony 3.1 megapixal and loved the film-free age of photography. Little did I know then that Epson would eventually own large amounts of my retirement money. From Sony, I moved to the Nikon D70, D200, D700, and finally the D800e. I am now able to divide my time between Montana, photographing brandings and western life, and the Washington Peninsula where I enjoy walking and photographing the Pacific coastal landscape. My extended family still lives in Florida, so occasionally I go down and visit and spend time with the mosquitos and alligators photographing the spectacular and exotic everglades, hoping to catch that dream shot of a python eating an alligator.
Membership in the PIY is open to photographers of all levels, from beginner
to professional. Members also vary in styles, subjects, and skills. This
gives all the members the benefit of experience and exposure to a broad
range of photographic disciplines. Members also enjoy discounted entry and
seminar fees for the Expos and various events held throughout the year.
Members get two free entries in the annual Expo event. As the organization
grows, PIY will offer more membership benefits that will encourage and
promote photographers and their art.
If you are interested in membership in the PIY, you can attend a monthly
meeting. They are held at 7pm on the second Tuesday of every month, at the
Billings Career Center - Graphics Room, 3723 Central Avenue, Billings MT. Membership fees can be paid by
personal cheque, but soon PIY will offer online membership payment and