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Aurora Chalbaud


Capturing Memories & Creating Art


Traveling, photography, family: these all go hand-in-hand in Aurora Chalbaud’s life. Born and raised in Venezuela, Chalbaud moved to the states in 1995, when she was a teenager, and has been a proud Texan ever since. An HR professional by day, she pursues her passion for photography during her free time and travels. Chalbaud, along with her husband and their three children, enjoy traveling across the globe to a number of beautiful destinations, such as Germany, Belize, Australia and more. Her photography is “really inspired by our travels and where we go…We’ve been fortunate to travel all over the world,” she says. They also enjoy many types of activities together as a family, including scuba diving and skiing, and it is during these special times that she most enjoys photographing travel memories with her camera. Indeed, one of her favorite parts of photography is that is allows her “to capture a moment in time” so that she and others can relive the memories and enjoy the beauty of the images at a later date. “Every time we take a trip, I have to take the camera, and then everybody in the family goes crazy because I have to take 10,000 shots of the same thing,” she laughs.

Chalbaud and her husband, Kurt Schmidt, share this love of photography and travel, and as a result, one of their mutual dreams for a number of years now has been to open an art gallery of their own. That goal came to fruition with the recent opening of Schmidt Fine Art Gallery. Their vision for the art gallery is to display imagery online for purchase, not only their photographic perspectives but other artists’ work as well, in order to share the beauty of the images with others. Her natural affinity leans toward taking landscape photos, while her husband is drawn to underwater photography. “Some of our most fun trips as a couple…just the two of us kind of doing a road trip and being able to stop wherever we want. And I see something I like, and he will literally just back up the car, let me get out, take my pictures and then keep going,” she says.

For her part, Chalbaud was first drawn to photography as a young girl. She began taking pictures in her childhood and then later enjoyed creating photo albums as a teenager; in fact, her initial interest in photography and cameras originated with her mother and stepfather, as both are journalists. “My whole life I’ve had photography around me,” explains Chalbaud of her inclination for the work. As she became interested in taking her own pictures and capturing her own perspective, her personal aesthetic developed over time, especially in the last decade as it is during this time frame that she began to regard her photography work more seriously and not only as a hobby. As for her inspiration for the photographic medium, she notes, “It's just being able to capture those moments and those views that we don't get back home and being able to enjoy them down the road.”

Chalbaud’s photographic pieces focus mainly on nature, such as landscapes or closeups of flora and fauna, like leaves or flowers or animals. However, she also enjoys shooting images of buildings and architecture, such as museums, as well as other venues she has seen during her many travels. Water is also often a focal point. She explains, “When it comes to the water, growing up in Venezuela, I had the Caribbean at my back door. I lived about 40 minutes from the beach, so just anything that has to do with water, I’m in.” This love for water scenes manifested itself in a certain photo she took during a journey to Belize. She describes the memorable picture: “We were standing on the deck, waiting for our water taxi. They had a little gazebo at the end, and I zoomed enough to where they could see what was kind of the frame of the picture, and then there’s the ocean beyond it. It’s just super pretty.” This striking image remains one of her favorites to this day. Other treasured images of hers, taken spur-of-the-moment in order to quickly memorialize the beauty, include times in Australia, or snow skiing, or other destinations, and also often center on landscapes, elevating their natural vista for the viewer through her pieces.

Another memorable destination she and her husband traveled to was Germany. “My most favorite trip of my entire adult life was Germany. The views and the pictures we took there were just incredible. The fields and the flowers, and their ancient buildings...I would say Germany is by far my most favorite destination. And probably I took thousands of pictures on our little 10-day trip,” Chalbaud laughs. A compelling image taken during their visit to Germany is of “a field of yellow with a village in the background…the colors were just breathtaking…so peaceful and just calm….It was springtime, and the weather was just perfect and beautiful, probably 60s most of the time and then it might drop down to the 50s in the evening…We started in one city and just drove…town to town to town and were able to pace ourselves,” she says of their magical trip. Her future goals for her work include continued travel photography as they expand their art gallery.

            The couple’s shared dream for the Schmidt Fine Art Gallery is to create a place to display their own unique work as well as others’ perspectives; this goal is both laudable and grand—and a perfect way for the two of them to jointly exhibit their passion for this particular artistic medium. “Photography lets me stop and be in the moment and focus on whatever it is that I saw that I think is beautiful and deserves that moment. Just ignore everything else that’s going on around and capture that moment,” Chalbaud explains of her appreciation for the art. “I just love taking pictures. I love capturing the memories and going back to them and reminiscing on those pictures.”


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