BUCKHANNON — A local photographer’s work has earned a prestigious placement at Tamarack in Beckley, WV. You may have seen some of Robbie Skinner’s spectacular photos on Facebook, or perhaps gracing the walls of local homes and establishments, but now visitors to the Mountain State’s largest fine arts and crafts venue will also have the opportunity to purchase his pieces.
Though he has never received any formal training in photography, Skinner has certainly mastered the art on his own. He originally gained interest and began taking photos professionally in 2008 while he was a sophomore at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Skinner said, “Although I was in college, I did not take any courses, nor do I have any formal training. I’m self-taught. I read about and research different techniques. With each photo I take, I try to improve. I take my camera everywhere I go, because you never know what you might see along the way. Although I do plan my trips out, some of my best images have come from just being in the right place at the right time.”
Skinner explained that photography is his only current artistic outlet and he is solely a landscape and architecture photographer. When asked what his favorite subject matter is, Skinner said, “My passion is capturing the beauty of Buckhannon, Upshur County, and West Virginia.” He jokingly added, “I’m not the one to call for weddings, senior portraits, or family gatherings.”
He couldn’t choose just one favorite of the 20,000 photos in his library, but said the ones he takes of Buckhannon hold a special place in his heart. “We’re blessed to live in a gorgeous city, nestled among peaceful, rolling hills, and I take great pride in showcasing the beauty of our area,” Skinner stated.
When asked how he achieves the amazing aerial aspects and vibrant colors in his photos, Skinner explained, “I do own a drone, so all of the aerial shots I take, I take with it. As for editing photos, I use Adobe Lightroom, but unlike the traditional Photoshop software, I’m limited in what I can do, and I prefer it that way. Lightroom is my software of choice because it basically allows me to bring out the natural colors, without changing the integrity or composition of the image.”
Achieving a spot to have work on display and for sale at Tamarack is quite an accomplishment for any artist. Skinner was very humble about having his photography accepted there and said, “Joining the Tamarack artisan community has been a goal of mine for quite some time, and it’s a tremendous honor to be chosen. Tamarack is a great meeting place for travelers from many different states. While there, I want people to see the real West Virginia, beyond what they’ll see from the interstate. Our mountain vistas, peaceful valleys, winding rivers, charming towns and bustling cities are unique, full of beauty, and unlike other areas. Our state is truly a special place, and I want to inspire people to perhaps visit us more often, or even relocate here if given the opportunity.”
Skinner was elected to Buckhannon City Council in 2016 and his seat is one of three that will be up for election this year. He is also the Agency Manager at Mountain Lakes Insurance Agency on Main Street in Buckhannon. For now, he says photography will remain a hobby, along with playing golf, hiking, biking and his volunteer efforts within the community. With a little luck, this venture could become quite lucrative for Skinner and he humorously added, “I’m fortunate to have at least one hobby that does, almost, pay for itself.”
Skinner said he is currently working on a platform to offer his photos for sale online. But for now, other than Tamarack, there is only one local place to purchase his breathtaking photos. Skinner stated, “I am a proud member of Artistry on Main in Downtown Buckhannon. If you haven’t been there, you’re really missing out. The store is open seven days per week and is full of high-quality merchandise crafted by an immensely talented local group of artists, many of whom are also part of Tamarack. Upshur County is very well-represented among the artisan communities of our state.”
Congratulations to Skinner on being a featured artisan at Tamarack, which is proud to showcase the best of West Virginia. If you’ve never been there, it’s worth the trip to enjoy the state’s jury selected fine art and regional cuisine.