Inspired Travel Photographer with an Artistic Eye
Kelli Lowe’s love for photography began at a young age. She grew up in the small town of Cassville, which is located in Southwest Missouri near the Mark Twain National Forest, and it is here that she first became enamored with nature and photography. “My brother and I…spent most of our time in the woods, all summer,” she says. And her mother was always teasing her by telling her to “stop burning up those flash bulbs” since Lowe was constantly taking photos of her natural surroundings. Artistically, she was inspired early on by her aunt, who was an artist and enjoyed oil painting; Lowe would often accompany her on excursions to local galleries. This greatly impacted her as she began to pursue her own artistic perspective.
Travel also developed Lowe’s photographic eye. As a young child, Lowe’s family enjoyed going for long drives on Sunday afternoons: “We would get in the car after church and end up who knows where…My dad never wants to take the same road twice. He won’t backtrack, so it’s like we just make loops all around us.” They would even travel to another state for dinner and then back again sometimes. These early experiences shaped and influenced her love of both nature and traveling, as she and her brother would enjoy looking out their car windows at the landscapes and landmarks they passed.
Lowe’s family ran an auto glass business when she was growing up, and she notes that she “went from working on cars to driving a semi.” This inclination for driving has come full-circle in her life as she currently travels across the United States as a truck driver with her fiancé, and while doing so, is constantly inspired by the picturesque scenes they pass by each day. In addition to her photographic work, Lowe enjoys pencil drawing, decorating, and gardening as a means of creative expression. A mother of four, she describes her own personal home décor and interior design: “My daughter calls it early American garage-sale flea-market style…it’s like American Pickers inside our house.” For instance, she has procured old Coca-Cola items to decorate her bathroom, repurposed a tin ceiling from a bank located in another small town for her own home, as well as salvaged items from local Victorian houses.
The almost daily travel as a truck driver is ideal for Lowe because the roadside scenery is rife with inspiration for a talented photographer: “We’ve been so many different places, California to Florida, Colorado and Maine, South Texas…we drive about 9,000 miles a month…we never really go to the same place twice.” From bridges to beaches, architectural accents to amazing sunsets, her camera captures them all. Lowe’s appreciation for her surroundings translates to her artistic expression and is evident in her work. Her photographic themes include “a lot of nature…landscapes and flowers, trees, certain seasons, the clouds and the sunsets, the weather.”
Oftentimes, her aforementioned love for architecture and design is apparent in the photos as well: “I love the little cities and towns…The older buildings that have the signage on the side that’s painted and been there forever…the harbors and the drawbridges.” But she continues to be drawn to the natural elements of her environment as well. She notes on a recent trip that “we went all the way out on the point of Maine where you had to turn around and come back. I don’t think we could have went any farther than we did in the truck.” She describes her photos as “mainly landscapes, different changes in scenery with the seasons, like right now all this yellow mustard weed…growing all over the fields.” Lowe’s camera also captures events such as dust storms as well as places like old buildings and barns, “things that remind you of home when you’re on the road.”
Some of the most memorable photos she has taken during her travels are spur-of-the-moment. Lowe loves sunsets over the water:“I really like the one at the beach that we took in St. Petersburg…For one thing, it’s not something that we see every day, so that alone is special.” Another one of her favorite photos was captured traveling into Nevada as they were approaching Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. “It was almost like bald mountains because the mountains… they’re really grassy, knolly, rounded mountains…covered with …bright yellow, little clumps of flowers all over the hillsides, and the road just wound down and around and through them. And then you could finally see Lake Mead ahead,” she says, describing the picturesque scene. Another time, they were traveling through Albuquerque, New Mexico, at night, and she was struck by the beauty of it: “It's several little mountain grades that you go through, but then whenever you come to Albuquerque, it's like you drop off into the steep valley. And at night…the whole valley is just covered in lights.” Despite their extensive traveling, there are still places she and her fiancé have not had a chance yet to visit that they hope to at some point, such as Sequoia National Park and other places in California.
For her future work, Lowe is most looking forward to taking more pictures, learning even more about photography, and continuing to hone her craft. Her ultimate goal with her photos is to share her images and inspire loved ones. Lowe’s time on the road has provided her with another avenue to tap into her artistic side and express her unique perspective. She shares what she has learned throughout her travels about photography: “My dad’s always said this growing up. Not everybody drives down the road, and sees anything at all…if you can have somebody see something from a totally different angle or see something that they would have totally missed to begin with, and be inspired by that, then that is the ultimate goal, in my mind, as far as photography is concerned, to be able to see something that they wouldn't have normally seen and appreciate it.”
Visit the complete Lowe Collection at https://schmidtfineartgallery.com