Artist profile: David B. McKay

FEW PEOPLE CAN MULTITASK better than the Mayor of Nevada City, David McKay. Besides being a community leader, he is an accomplished photographer, silkscreen artist, graphic designer, art director and college teacher.

McKay has also published a book, Yuba Seasons: Images from the Wild & Scenic South Yuba River.

The book has won five national and four regional awards. “What Ansel Adams did for Yosemite, David McKay does for the Yuba River,” says art collector Julia Carol. Adds the Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Gary Snyder— “Best photography I’ve ever seen of that sweet little river.”

McKay has been photographing the Yuba River and its surroundings for almost 40 years. “I’m always amazed by the patterns created from light passing through the surface tension of water,” he says.

His career had humble beginnings—photographing visitors dressed up in old-fashioned western garb with a polaroid camera in the ‘70s. The “while you wait,” sepia-toned images were a hit.

Later in his career, McKay put his silkscreen and graphic design talents to use for the likes of Lockheed and McDonald Douglas to portray famous aircraft. He created colorful images of Harleys, which were snapped up by the high-end motorcycle enthusiasts.

McKay also opened a private photography school in Grass Valley called Mountain Images. He’s been a teacher at Sierra College’s Nevada County campus for more than a decade.

“Photography has been the ‘carrot-on-a-stick’ that has motivated me to learn things I wouldn’t have otherwise, to explore places I had never been, to communicate with people I didn’t know, and to be a great observer,” he says.

David McKay Photography

McKay’s book Yuba Seasons and 2012 calendar are available on his website and at local stores.

His photographs will be exhibited at ASIF Gallery and Center for the Arts, both in Grass Valley, and at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City.

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