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Spotlight on Los Alamos: Photographer the very picture of passion

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By Katy Korkos

Kimber Barber’s enthusiasm for life is evident in her voice when she talks about her artwork.“Every day that I’m home, I’m working on photographs, and when I’m not home, I’m taking photographs.” “There are so many things I love to do, I’ll never get it all in,” Barber said. Travel, nature and playing with the photos top Barber’s list of priorities.Photography is a relatively new interest, yet a natural progression for Barber, who has always been creative.“I’ve always had some art form,” Barber said. “I did stained glass, and then when the kids were born, I gave that up because it wasn’t safe. Then I did quilting and the fabric arts.”With longtime friend Helen Ortega, Barber made heirloom Santa Claus figures, each with a distinct personality. “Whatever I’ve done, I’ve been passionate about,” Barber said. “I was very into quilting; I could do it 24 hours a day. I got interested in photography when I worked out in the Valles Caldera. There were so many gorgeous opportunities out there.”She added, “I love being outdoors and I love the light.”She said that she really admires the dedicated people who are trying to make the experiment in public land ownership a success. “They will get there,” she said. “They are dedicated people, and they’ll make it work.”There are a few images from the Caldera in an exhibit of her work, currently hanging in the Wachovia Securities office in Santa Fe, as well as many other photos showing hot air balloons, wildlife and travel shots.“There’s no particular theme; they’re just my favorites,” Barber said.She has worked as a Realtor, and keeps her real estate license up to date, though in recent years, work has had to take a back seat to travel and photography.Barber has a Canon digital camera with multiple lenses, and says that she uses all of her lenses. She uses both Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint programs to manipulate her photographs. She has taken at least six classes in the use of Photoshop, “and I’ve just barely scratched the surface,” she said. She has literally thousands of digital images stored on her computer, and is working on filling up her third hard-drive with new ones.Barber said she always knew she wanted to travel, but with raising a family and working, she didn’t think she would be able to see the world. “I had resigned myself to thinking I was never going to travel,” she said, “and now I’ve been to Europe twice.” She has visited Greece and Italy, and is planning a South American adventure with partner Rob. They will fly in Rob’s plane to visit Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and Columbia in the New Year. They plan to extend their trip with a scuba diving adventure on their way back to the states, although she has no plans to do any underwater photography.“You need too much specialized equipment,” she said, and besides, as someone who is not all that experienced a diver, “I have enough trouble just breathing.”Barber grew up in Los Alamos, one of the six Wallwork kids, and her mother, Betty,  taught at Pueblo Junior High School. “I had her for English and she made me call her Mrs. Wallwork,” Barber said. Her father Jack loved to act and appeared in many little theatre productions. “We all used to love throwing peanuts at him in the melodramas. So did the grandkids,” Barber said.Her daughter Kaela is in her freshman year at UNM, and called her mom on Monday to say she had just gotten her third “A.”Son Cooper is graduating on Saturday from the University of North Dakota, with a degree in aeronautics. He has trained as a helicopter pilot.“I’m so proud of my kids,” Barber said.There was a show of her photographs at Mesa Public Library last year, and her newer work is currently on display in Santa Fe. More than 40 photographs, “some manipulated, some abstracted, a lot of them just straight photographs,” are framed and hung in a Santa Fe office building. An artist’s reception, open to the public, will be held from 4:30-7:30 Dec. 19 at Wachovia Securities, 121 Sandoval Street, on the third floor, above Alpine Sports.Those who cannot attend the reception or who are unable to drop by the Wachovia Security’s office during business hours can see more of Barber’s work at www.kimbersphotography  .com.