Andrew Baruffi

About

PHOTOGRAPHY:

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In 2016 I became more interested with the idea of photography becoming a more central part of my life. I had just finished a trip to Iceland in May and after coming home it seemed as if all of my images of the trip were empty, lifeless, and without feeling. Iceland is known as a photographer's paradise, but because I didn't understand the foundations and elements of photography, my photos suffered from a lack of knowledge.

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Once back home at the beginning of June, I purchased my first ultra-wide angle lens. It was one of the best decisions of my life even if my wallet didn't think so at the time. The lens fundamentally changed the way I thought about compositions, conditions, and photography as a whole. For the first time I felt a push to get up, get out, and continue to advance my knowledge of the elements of photography in the outdoors. I became increasingly interested in photographing the night sky due to the Southern Utah area around me. Dark skies are local to my home, and the thought of being able to capture something that a camera can see better than the human eye was exhilarating.

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"Giddiness" is a word I use a lot to describe the feeling I receive from photography. Every time I look at a photo on the back of my camera after a shoot that I've researched, planned, and spent hours in freezing darkness for, I get a rush of giddiness. It's that giddiness that keeps me inspired and motivated to continue to capture moments. I hope to return to Iceland soon with the knowledge I've gained, and finally express my vision of the country's beauty through my images.

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For pretty much all of 2018 I lived in Washington D.C. I worked for National Geographic as a Visitor Experiences Representative in their museum exhibitions, and I was content with the way I was living. I may have been content, but I did not have a healthy lifestyle or mindset in D.C. While there I decided it would be best to put photography off for awhile and focus on city opportunities to help me figure out what I want to do with my life. In time I craved nature, and felt constricted by the urban environment and material happinesses. I moved back to Southern Utah on December 5th due to personal and financial reasons, and my world turned upside down from what I was used to. In turn my mental health was completely shot. I couldn’t focus on anything, and everything in my mind was panicking and dwelling about what I was doing with my life. My birthday was just two days later on December 7th, and after a rough depressive episode I made the decision that day to go to Zion. That was a decision that dramatically affected me. Zion captured me that day, I felt comfort and peace that my mind was grasping for. Ever since that day, I try to make it to Zion at least a few times a week. Much like it was to the people that inhabited it before, Zion is my sanctuary. I go to feel safe, welcomed, calm, and it never loses its luster with each visit. I will never stop wading through the Virgin River as the reflected light warms the landscape. I will never stop wandering aimlessly throughout the east side washes wondering what surprise is around each bend.

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Photography and mental health for me go hand in hand. I believe in the power that nature has to heal a wounded mind, and through photographs I’m able to capture those moments that heal. With this series I hope to show you how I see Zion. To me, it’s a place that is defined by its intimacy rather than its grandeur. Since the start of my consistent exploration of Zion I’ve began to notice the reason why this place is so powerful to me, Zion is desert mountains. Two different climates that combine to promote peaceful rest all the while inspiring the mind to push forward and keep creating. It’s an addictive combination.

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I still have no idea what I want to do with my life, but who ever does? I do feel I’m getting closer to figuring it out with each day spent in nature. For now I’ll just continue to embrace the outdoors, and remember that everything happens for a reason.

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Thank you for your interest and support, I hope you enjoy.

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LIFE OUTSIDE OF PHOTOGRAPHY:

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I moved to Cedar City, Utah from Las Vegas, Nevada in 2005. Over the years living in the area I've discovered that Southern Utah is one of the greatest places one can live due to the diversity in landscapes that can be found just miles apart from each other. I am a former student of Southern Utah University and I completed my Bachelor's Degree in History and Film and Screen Studies. My family owns The Grind Coffeeshop in Cedar City where I've worked as a barista for over 9 years. When not taking photos or working; I'm either spending time with my family, hiking, traveling, or preparing for the next adventure.

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From January to November of 2018 I moved to the Washington, D.C. area after having completed my undergraduate education in Southern Utah. I worked for National Geographic as a Visitor Experiences Representative in their museum exhibitions, but found myself losing touch with my passion for photography and nature in the city-based lifestyle. I have since moved back to Southern Utah, and am fully expecting to build a career out west centralizing in outdoor conservation and preservation while re-focusing on my love for photography.

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