Multifaceted Member: Craig Underwood, CGA
Monday, October 8, 2018
We have a number of American Gem Society (AGS) members who are more than just incredible jewelers, designers, and gemologists. They also exhibit talents that extend beyond their industry careers. They’re multifaceted.
"Tuscan Gold" Copyright 2013 Underwood Photos
This photograph is from just outside the city of San Gimignano in the Tuscany region of Italy.
Our first in this series is Craig Underwood, CGA, president of Underwood’s Fine Jewelers in Fayetteville, AR. His jewelry designs have won national awards and have also been seen at red carpet events such as the Oscars and Emmy Awards.
But did you know he’s also an accomplished photographer? We had the chance to ask Craig about his other artistic side!
AGS: How did you get your start in the world of landscape photography?
Craig: An interesting back story to my landscape photography dates back more than 20 years ago when, in 1995, my wife and I took a trip to Yosemite. I had seen the gorgeous images of Ansel Adams and naively thought I would take some beautiful photographs of my own. I shot several rolls of 35mm film, but the result was a dismal failure. The photographs I got back from the processing center were terrible. I was so frustrated, I lost interest in landscape photography and focused my picture taking to my three children as they grew up.
Seventeen years later, all my children were at or beyond the age in which they wanted me to photograph them. Fresh out of subject matter, I decided to try nature photography again. This time however, being older and somewhat wiser, I decided to educate myself first. So in the spring of 2012, I signed up for a landscape photography workshop. It was an eye opening and inspiring experience. Landscape photography has now become a favorite hobby of mine.
AGS: Do you have a bucket list for subjects you’d like to photograph?
Craig: I have several places I would like to eventually photograph, but my list continues to change and evolve. Some of the places at the top of my U.S. list are: Arches National Park, Olympic National Park and autumn in the Colorado Rockies. Outside the USA, I would like to photograph Banff National Park, Iceland, and New Zealand.
AGS: How do you seek out your subject matter?
Craig: Because the quality of light is so important to beautiful landscape photography, most of my photo outings are planned. For me, the best light is found very early in the morning just as light begins to creep into the day. Followed by that is sunset/dusk. I try to scope out my locations ahead of time but occasionally I’ll take my camera gear out to an area I’m fond of and I’ll just follow my nose and see what interests me.
AGS: Your first camera was a Pentax K1000, given to you by your father, Bill Underwood, CGA. What are you using now?
Craig: Today I use a Canon 5D Mark IV. Several years ago when I switched from a film camera to a digital camera, I felt the best product on the market at the time was Canon. However, like many photographers, I stick with my camera brand because I have so much invested in all the various Canon lenses.
AGS: How would you apply your creative eye for photography to jewelry design? Has one inspired the other?
Craig: My jewelry design has definitely influenced my photography. I developed my artistic eye for jewelry long before I got serious with photography. Additionally, jewelry is my primary focus in life. While photography has been a fantastic hobby, my first love is and has always been jewelry.
This November, Craig will be participating in his very first photography exhibition. Click here to see the official invite! Without further ado, we’d like to share some of Craig’s—and our—favorite photos.
2 Bales at Night
Copyright 2014 Underwood Photos
Taken in the Buffalo River National Park around 12:30 in the morning.
Eiffel Tower Glow
Copyright 2018 Underwood Photos
Taken recently on a trip to Paris. It's Craig's favorite photo from this trip.
Karst Mountain Sunset
Copyright 2015 Underwood Photos
Taken on a bicycle trip through China. Craig headed the mountains alone at sunset for this shot.
Copyright 2017 Underwood Photos
Taken in Baja California Peninsula near Cabo San Lucas. A large storm was brewing in the distance so Craig used a tripod with a time exposure to give the water a misty look.
The River's Eye
Copyright Protected Underwood Photos
Dusk in the Buffalo River National Park. This photo is special to Craig because you get two different impressions. Only from a distance do you understand the pictures title.
Copyright 2016 Underwood Photos
This photograph is of a beautiful villa in the Tuscany region of Italy. Not much is known much about the villa other than it is jaw-dropping beautiful.