He was taking pictures with his eyes and his imagination before he ever picked up a camera, which he finally did at the age of 12.
“I’ve always liked the camera,” Deal said. “I was always fascinated by cameras and taking pictures.”
He’s very purposeful in his shots. He is much more interested in quality and doesn’t take a lot of shots.
“I’ll take a picture of anything. I might find a picture of something that most people wouldn’t think about it,” Deal said. “It’s more like an exploration for me. I try to see what’s out there. And then I’ll look at something and think that’ll make a good picture from right here and take that picture and then I might think the same thing from a different angle. I like to see which one turns out better. So I’ll have five or six pictures of the same thing but they’ll be different views. Later I’ll decide which one turned out the best.”
He also likes to go back to the same place to try and see something new.
Family friend Chris Johnson is a photographer and kind of mentor, according to Deal.
“He is always fascinated to see my stuff,” Deal said. “He says most of the stuff he sees from me, he doesn’t see anywhere else, so it’s like Christmas for him.”
Deal has more mentors and fans and friends at Tsuga Gallery, where he spends some of his time. When he starts LCC in the fall, he already plans to take a photography class taught by one of those friends, Judy VanderMaten.
“She’s really excited to have me there,” he smiled. “It will be fun to have her as a photography teacher.”
Deal has learned by doing. Working with light is one of his quiet joys when it comes to taking pictures. He doesn’t usually work in black and white but he was excited about some pictures that he took under the Astoria Bridge that looked like black and white photographs due to the interplay of light and shadow.
He doesn’t use people as subjects but he has given some thought to attempting the challenge sometime this summer.
Deal enters photographs in the fair each year and has sent his work to contests as well. He has sold several pictures at Tsuga Gallery and a few more when he did a show at Redmen Hall in the fall of 2012.
I’ve always been very visual,” Deal said. “My grandfather on my mom’s side of the family was a photographer until he physically couldn’t do it any more. He loves hearing about how I’m taking pictures now, how the hobby has passed on to me.”
“I’m going to keep doing this for awhile,” he said.
Deal is the son of Shawn Deal of Skamokawa and Krystin Hawkins of Portland and he loves his Canon Rebel.