Rayni Williams' photography tells a story, calmly. Her nature work, cityscapes and portraits find the ghosts hidden within regular perception. For example, a rain-drenched bench downtown late at night doesn't just convey the chilly expanse of the evening; instead, her lens finds the isolation of the moment. A photo of Smith Rock doesn't just capture the majestic beauty, but finds something of the inherently ancient and wizened personality there, too.
Getting lost in the woods and mountains is how Williams says she combats being wracked with boredom, which in turn informs her process. "Most photographers will tell you that they take a lot of shots and then pick and choose," Williams explains. "I'm the opposite. I will take pictures until I get that one shot and call it good."
Those days and nights of getting lost have led to her work feeling like found footage snapshots of the nooks and crannies of Central Oregon. Photographing something as iconic as Smith Rock or the high desert may seem like an easy task, but her eye doesn't settle on the friendliest framing or composition. She searches for the angle that says something about the subject, something more than "Isn't this pretty?"
She resists putting her inspiration into words. "It's a feeling, a high that I search the Pacific Northwest to find, but no one thing inspires me." She does, however, thank her grandmother, Sophie Cashman, and A.J. Pollard for encouraging her to become better photographer.
Williams began her photography career as a sophomore at Mountain View High in Bend.
"I had a delightful teacher who let me come and use the dark room even when I was done at Mountain View, but I think the day I got my SLR [single-lens reflex camera] is when I finally buckled down with it and got serious about honing my skills," she says.
The Photography of Rayni Williams
First Friday, May 6
25 NW Minnesota Ave., Bend