weather icon Clear

Beatty Museum features local photographer’s work

Updated October 11, 2021 - 10:40 am

Works by longtime Beatty photographer and writer Richard Stephens are now on display at the Beatty Museum with an opening show planned later this month.

Stephens’ “Beauty All Around” exhibit is now on display at the museum, containing two personal projects by the local artist/photographer. The works are on display, but the museum is planning an opening on Saturday, Oct. 23 from 5-7 p.m.

“Stephens has always said that he is addicted to beauty, and he finds it all around here in the Nevada desert,” states a pamphlet about the display.

Stephens’ exhibit includes his “Amargosa Flow” and “We’re not in the Weeds” collections. The Amargosa collection includes photographs of where the Amargosa River, a large underground river, surfaces in Beatty. The other collection is of an array of desert plants Stephens photographed in his studio.

“He took the plants into his studio and photographed them against a black background to focus attention on their shapes and colors and give them the dignity he feels they deserve,” the literature states.

Speaking of the “We’re Not Weeds” project, Beatty Museum Manager Amina Anderson said, “I like it most that the artist took everyday plants and amplified their natural beauty so that people can see it.”

Stephens’ early years and background

According to information from the museum, Stephens’ “appreciation for the beauties of nature began in early childhood, when, for instance, he could often be found sitting in his grandfather’s gravel pile cracking rocks open to see the colors and patterns that might be revealed.”

Two quotes hold special meaning to Stephens, who was blinded in one eye as a boy, according to the Beatty Museum.

One is from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self Reliance”: “The eye was placed where one ray should fall that it might testify of that particular ray.”

“This indicates a duty to be observant and to share the view of the world as you see it,” the museum notes.

The other is the old Spanish saying, “En la tierra de los ciegos el tuerto es rey” (In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king).

The museum states, “This especially applies to artists, who because of their particular sensitivity, either by natural inclination or artistic training or both, often have the role of helping others see things they might otherwise overlook.”

Stephens has lived in Beatty for 44 years, spending three decades teaching English and art at Beatty High School. Stephens has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in art from Brigham Young University. He also received his Master of Art in English and minor in British literature from BYU.

Stephens started out early with gaining experience as a photographer. He was a photographer for his school newspaper, the Desert Breeze, as well as president of the art guild in his senior year at Las Vegas High School. Stephens also gained experience in college at BYU.

Stephens took his first job in photography in 1963 as a colorist for Jay Florian Mitchell Studio in Las Vegas.

“From time to time he worked in other photography studios, including Sanchez Studio in Las Vegas and Mexico Studio in Provo, Utah, and in the BYU Photo Studio while in college, gaining experience as a photographer, darkroom technician, and retoucher,” literature from the museum states.

Stephens’ work has been published in Nevada Magazine, Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Sunset, Petersen’s Photographic, Modern Photography, Popular Photography, and others, according to the museum.

Stephens has also written several magazine articles and is a freelancer with the Pahrump Valley Times.

“These days Stephens is dedicating more time to painting than photography,” the museum states. “His other creative outlet is making and playing Native American-style flutes.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Tonopah will build new $15.2M elementary near town high school

Tonopah will create a centralized learning campus for pre-k through 12-grade students by constructing a new elementary on 5.5 acres near the town’s high school.

Funding will help save endangered Pahrump poolfish

Bureau of Land Management officials have worked with other agencies over the past five years to improve habitats for the threatened fish, which can be found in three locations at the Shoshone Ponds about 30 miles south of Ely.

Fairgrounds parking lot will be used for motorcycle trainings

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Riders Group of Pahrump is expected to begin hosting motorcycle training sessions at the parking lot of the Pahrump Fairgrounds.

2 transported to hospital after crash

One person was transported by air to UMC Trauma, while another was transported to Desert View Hospital following a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of Gamebird Road and Winchester Avenue just after 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

NBC exhumes Ted Binion case on ‘Dateline’ episode

Casino magnate Ted Binion was found dead in September 1998, but many believe he buried treasure at his Pahrump property.

Rise of COVID-19 cases have canceled visits at Nevada prisons

Following a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, the Nevada Department of Corrections suspended inmate visitations until further notice. The agency did not indicate whether inmate and attorney visits are part of the suspension period.

Staffing crisis at area hospitals continues

An increasing number of sick employees and an continuing rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations have extended a staffing crisis in Southern Nevada hospitals for a second week.