Bright Horse Arts Photography -- Gene Dougherty


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My name is Gene Dougherty. I was born in Hollywood (no, really) and raised in the greater Los Angeles area. My father was in the motion picture industry and got me a summer job, while I was in college, as an extra in movies and TV. My uncle worked in the motion picture industry. My grandmother worked in the motion picture industry. Even some of my cousins were ‘actors’ as babies in commercials. I, on the other hand, was an “extra.” (A common term used on the set was “background,” as in, “Bring in the background now.” I may as well have been a potted plant!) I was in four Elvis Presley movies – one each summer – and you can’t see me in any of them! But even though I never got beyond playing a lamp in the corner, I grew up appreciating the art of making movies and the role that great cinematography plays in creating great movies. Think Lawrence of Arabia without the sweep of the desert vastness. Or Doctor Zhivago without the ‘ice palace’ at Varykino. From this appreciation of films came my passion with photography.

It’s in my blood, actually. My maternal grandfather, Paul De Gaston, was a professional photographer and a friend and colleague of Ansel Adams. Before he wandered off, he taught my grandmother the craft, and she supported herself and their two daughters through the Depression as a portrait photographer. “Mimi” gave me my first camera and encouraged me to “take pictures, take pictures and keep taking pictures.”

I fell in love with landscape photography while going to graduate school in Portland, Oregon, where I enjoyed unfettered access to the department’s little-used dark room. Living just off the old highway that runs along the rim of the Columbia River Gorge, I spent hours wandering the Gorge with my Pentax SLR, and then ever more hours in the darkroom learning how to print my black and white photos. Unfortunately, none of my early photographs have survived the travel through time – but my love of light and form and photographing the beauty of the world around us has.

After a long career in international business, Fine Art Photography is my second career, and after family and friends, my first love. I try to capture the beauty of the natural world… all the while knowing well that the light is always changing.

Thank you for visiting my site and please feel free to drop me a note with any questions or comments you may have.

In addition to my landscape and nature photography, I do specialized photography projects for private and commercial clients in the Sonoma Valley and throughout Northern California. I make my home in the lovely city of Sonoma, and I'm a proud member of the Yosemite Conservancy, the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation, the ASPCA, and NAPP. I can be reached at or (707) 242-1946.

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