Story by Ammie Bryant
Dramatic skies and sweeping landscapes dominate Kirk Turner’s photography. The vivid colors and breathtaking perspective convey sweeping vistas of the western prairie and high plains. Turner’s photography is a reflection of his everyday vision as he works his ranch or travels throughout Oklahoma, Texas and points further west.
Kirk grew up in west Texas. It was there that he first began carrying a Nikon camera everywhere he went during his high school days. His camera came north with him when he came to OSU to study Animal Science. It was here that he met his wife, Denise–she’s a Texas transplant too. She runs Stillwater Milling. Kirk managed a local ranch west of Stillwater for twelve years. Today, Kirk is focusing on their own small ranch and livestock. Through the years, photography has been a stress reliever. It was something he did for pleasure; it was not something he ever saw as a business, at least not until recently.
He says the shift began when someone from Norman Regional Hospital saw his work online and contacted him about buying it for display at the hospital. Kirk didn’t really know how to go about selling his work on this type of scale so he connected with an art broker. His work is now in five or six hospitals and several retirement homes, including several dozen at Stillwater Medical Center.
Shyla Eggers, Director of Public Relations at Stillwater Medical Center said, “We had no idea when we chose the art that Mr. Turner was a local resident.”
When we asked how art is selected for display at SMC, Shyla explained that the Stillwater Medical Center’s Interior Finishes Group selected the photographs from an art dealer. First the group met to discuss options, then looked at online catalogs, and finally created a plan with the art dealer who then made changes according to any preferences that were expressed by the Group. Not every piece selected for the Stillwater Medical Center were Kirk Turner’s work but the majority were. At the time of selection, the Interior Finishes Group did not realize they had chosen so many pieces by a single artist who also happened to be locally based.
Kirk still shoots with a Nikon. While he uses a digital camera, he still prefers to shoot with film. In addition to the landscape and occasional livestock photographs, Kirk also does some family portraits and even some weddings from time to time. He never thought of his photography as a business before but now he finds himself learning how as what once was a hobby becomes much more than the stress relief it was before.