As Yuba College photography professor Eric Baral makes the trek from Sacramento up to the Marysville campus for his daily teachings, he can’t help but take his eyes off the road for a moment, and focus them on the beauty at hand within in the world.
The pictures received through his black spectacles and transmitted to his mind weave a world of their own. It’s these pictures that become the backdrop of his passion. Bridges, flowers, pastures. Where some just see shapes, Baral sees a world within a world.
For the 33-year old California native, photography is not just a paycheck. It’s an art. It’s an honor. The man doesn’t take pictures, he gives them. A historian of sorts.
Whereas this last decade has brought us some of the shadier elements of photography, unsuspecting females taken advantage of in a supermarket, or a paycheck driven from the art of stalking celebrities, Baral intends to bring dignity back to the artform of photography.
It’s not a wacky weekend with a camera, capturing a drunk friend passed out, it’s the shadows and depth of nature captured in the sun, midday. It’s not the unfortunate happenings of others, recorded with the intent to get a laugh at another’s expense, it’s the memory of a weekend lived right, peeking at a climax when the photo is taken, forever cementing that particular moment’s place in history. A stitch in time.
The photos included in his latest release, “Instagrams Volume 6” encompass a vast array of elements. Previous efforts have included everything from bailed haystacks to busy diners. This edition brings us a similar experience: A lengthy sky at Sunset, a slim tree’s shadow cast upon a wall, a glimpse at a creek deep within the wilderness.
The journey for Baral started here at the Marysville campus of Yuba College, under the watchful eye of former Photography professor Rick Murai.
“He was very instrumental in my education and development of passion toward photography,” he recalls when asked about the Yuba College mainstay who quietly retired just a few semesters ago. “A good mentor; developed a friendship that still lasts today.”
Many are the months and years since that first introduction to the photography program he now teaches.
“I started with a Canon Rebel 2000,” he reflects. “Stolen. I had it three months before it got stolen.”
The minor setback was an obstical Baral would hurdle almost immediately. “I moved up,” describes the professor speaking on the evolution of his craft, as it wasn’t long after that in which he purchased a Pentax 645. “I knew early on this was what I wanted to do.”
It remains as clear as the objects in his lens, that Baral will continue see the world as only he can, and with the continued work ethic that has got him to where he stands today, we will as well.