The United States of America is a huge, magnificent country filled with a diversity of people. No matter where you live, though, you're probably not going to encounter a lot of people from the mountainous regions of North Idaho. It's one of the most beautiful places in the world, and most folks just don't want to live anywhere else. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Wess Nibarger, and I was born and grew up in and around Coeur d' Alene, Idaho, about 90 miles from our border with Canada.
Sometimes I think I was born with photography in my blood. As a kid, I used to use my fingers to box in the scene in front of me, just to see what it would look like without all the background clutter. So I guess it could be said that I had an interest in composition at a very young age.
When I was 5 or 6 years old, I talked my mom into buying me a broken camera in a thrift store. I had great fun playing wannabe photographer with that thing!
I went into the US Army Infantry in 1982. A severe injury in 1986 put an end to my time in the military. I spent about 4 months in a German hospital, and another 5 or 6 at the Army hospital in San Francisco before I went home to Idaho.
Fast forward a few years, to when my interest in photography really became a real part of my life. A girlfriend convinced me to relocate from the brutal winters in North Idaho to the much more inviting climate of Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound of Northern Washington.
Whidbey had it all. There were beautiful forests and beaches strewn with driftwood and shells. A forty five minute drive put you in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Ninety minutes, and you were in Seattle. We weren't there for a week before I found a camera store and bought an SLR and a couple of lenses. These came with a pretty rough learning curve, because I had no idea what the words "shutter speed" meant, or what an aperture is. A little secret for all you non-photographers out there: the camera instruction manual didn't explain any of that stuff, and Google was still years in the future!
About a year after I purchased that first camera, I landed a job at the camera store, and it wasn't too long before I was the manager. That job opened up a whole new world of shooting to me. By that time, I actually knew what I was doing! On Whidbey Island there were few real professional photographers. There was one shooter who charged exorbitant prices well out of most peoples' budgets, but who was, frankly, a master artist and delivered real wedding album books and other products a long time before they really caught on with the public in general. For the most part the rest of the shooters charged between $300 - $600, and would show up at a wedding in cut off shorts and a tank top, and hand the rolls of undeveloped film to the bride at the end of the day.
Then I arrived on the scene. Almost daily, someone would come into the store asking for recommendations for a wedding shooter, someone to shoot some senior portraits, everything. My answer was always: - "Why, me of course!" It didn't take long for word of mouth to spread the news that the guy who managed the camera store was reasonably priced, was honest, and produced good work. I was in a niche of my own creation. I shot weddings, a lot of portraits, even pets. Whidbey Island hosts a Naval Air Station and during the first gulf war, when most of the guys were "out on the boat," I shot a lot of glamour photography as well, and helped Navy wives put together albums and scrap books full of ... risque photos of themselves to send to their husbands.
Right around 1992-'93, my life circumstances changed drastically and I was forced to give up the photography. I didn't get back into it until 2004, and by then the days of cameras that used film were numbered.
Fast forward to 2017, and I now have the luxury of being able to pursue my passion full time. This website is my way of sharing my vision with all of you, but it is, and always will be, a work in progress, as I'm now in the process of returning to shooting events and portraits and glamour. An explanation of services offered and prices will be posted here soon.
In the mean time I hope you enjoy the website, and consider making a purchase or two!