Ski photographer Cody Downard show his summer side with new Eagle gallery.
By Larry Grossman
Spend any time on Vail Mountain, and you’ve probably seen Cody Downard’s images.
He’s known locally as the photographer behind the camera for many of Vail Resorts marketing images and great “face shot” powder skiing photos seen in the area’s local publications. What most do not know is that Downard has also had his images grace the pages of USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Ski and Skiing magazines, the New York Times, National Geographic Adventure and dozens of other periodicals and advertising pieces.
So if you are known in the photography world predominantly as a marketing photographer, but you want to show the world what your true passions are as an artist behind the lens of a camera, how do you market yourself? Downard’s answer: Open up a photo gallery in his own town showcasing his love for the Rocky Mountain lifestyle, nature, and western art forms that inspired him to become a photographer in the first place.
Last Friday, Downard unveiled his new digs at his gallery located at 132 Broadway in downtown Eagle, between the Red Canyon Café and the Mountain Pedaler bike shop.
“My goal when I got a bit older and more experience under my belt was to open my own gallery someday. I realized that today was as good as any day to start it and show my other types of work,” says Downard. “A lot of people know me as a marketing photographer for Vail Resorts and a ski photographer, and my goal was to showcase my other work and a small store front.”
Back to his roots
Downard’s photos speak loudly of the western lifestyle and scenery – they capture the imagination and bring a smile to your face when you recognize some of your favorite spots in Colorado and the surrounding Rocky Mountain region. One photo depicts a wall covered with old car-and-truck license plates. This image immediately brings the aroma of freshly ground coffee to mind when you recognize it as a section of the infamous wall at Camp 4 Coffee in Crested Butte. This photo will bring you directly to the morning you stood in line and then sat outside on a brisk summer morning, sipping coffee and eating pastries. It’s a fun and warm image that would be appropriate on any wall in any home in Colorado and for those that have visited the wonderful mountain towns.
Downard moved west from Kansas after graduating from Kansas State University and worked at two of the nation’s most naturally beautiful national parks, Glacier and Yellowstone, as a park ranger. This was when his lifelong hobby of photographing the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains and its wildlife slowly became a professional pursuit.
After landing some various resort jobs in Vail in 2004, including at Vail’s human resources office, he began helping fellow Vail Resorts photographer Jack Affleck in the field and eventually began taking his own photos for the mountain. Will still be the author of many of Vail’s future winter shots, but says he’s excited to share his summer side as well.
Come on by
Downard’s love for the Tetons of Wyoming remains intact, and Downard still conducts photo workshops based out of the Jenny Lake Lodge outside of Jackson, Wyo., in the early summer (June 14 to June 16) and fall (Sept. 27 to Sept. 29) when the leaves are changing. The participants at these workshops range from beginners to long-time camera enthusiasts, and Downard admits that sometimes his students show up with more expensive camera gear than he shoots with.
Downard recommends that if you are interested in getting into photography, that the perfect camera to start with would be a Canon SLR (single lens reflex) with a lens that has a 28 mm to 200 mm range.
Opening day for the Cody Downard Photo Gallery was not accomplished without overcoming some obstacles, like most businesses. The day prior to his evening kickoff party, strong thunderstorms rolled through the Eagle area and literally tore his brand new sign off of the storefront. (It was quickly repaired the next morning.)
Despite the minor setbacks, to the unsuspecting eye, the gallery opening was a success, with about 75 people in attendance. The grand opening is over, but Downard invites anyone to stop by during his gallery hours (Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) For more info, contact Downard at 970-471-4416 or see www.codydownard.com.
Just be sure to call him before you drop in, as he may be out in the field shooting images -- perhaps one you’ll hang on your wall.