Don Kirby literally grew up turning the surface of the earth upside down on his parent's sharecropper farms in Northwestern Missouri. Failing in that enterprise, his family moved to other work as he studied math and physics in college with a be- ginning interest in photography. Emerging with advanced math and science degrees, he moved to the West Coast and began a career in aerospace. Escaping frequently from the city to maintain sanity, he became a backpacker, mountain climber, and river runner, always carrying a slide camera to document his and his friend's activities. A decade and a half later, for reasons still not clear, B/W film replaced slides, subject matter changed, a darkroom was built, and serious study of expressive photography began, utilizing workshops by Bruce Barnbaum, John Sexton, Ansel Adams, and ultimately teaching with Bruce, Jay Dusard, Stu Levy, and Huntington Witherill. Aerospace was abandoned a few years later.
Don's photography in the ensuing 37 years has been landscape oriented, concentrating on the lands west of the 100th meridian. Major projects include over 20 years (1989 to the present and continuing) of periodic work on the Ancestral Pueblos of the Colorado Plateau, 15 years (1991-2006) in the Wheatcountry of the Northwestern US, and lately 5 years (and continuing) in the National Grasslands and other grasslands in the US. Most recently he has begun a series of projects focused in Santa Fe.
Don's photographs have been exhibited in more than fifty individual and group exhibits. Additionally, his photographs are included in the collections of the George Eastman House, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Joy of Giving Some- thing, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Portland Art Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum, and private collections.
Nazraeli Press published Wheatcountry in 2001, You're not really initiated until your eyes are redder than your lips in 2002, and Grasslands in 2009.
Don met his wife Joan Gentry in 1992 and eleven years later Joan, a New Mexico gal, led them home to Santa Fe. They run a photography workshop program and travel the country in a pop-top camper in pursuit of their photographic interests.