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As I See It With Hap Bailey-Hudec

“I just like capturing an image that gives me pleasure,” Hap (Gladys) Bailey-Hudec said.

Influenced by creative parents and exposed to the arts from a young age, it was only natural for Hap to gravitate towards a creative expression. Her mother, a sculptress and her father, a Commercial Photographer, passed on the creative genes to their daughter. As a Commercial Photographer and a buyer of Asian Antiquities for Gumps, her father spent most of his time traveling the world. When he was home, Hap spent time with him in his darkroom, these father/daughter moments planted a seed in the young Hap, who later on took up the camera.

In the 50’s, as a young married couple, Hap and her husband, lived in Mt Shasta, California working at the ski resort. A new ski area was under construction and Hap documented the construction with photos and interviews for the local paper. Then the young couple then moved to Mammoth Lakes, California as ski instructors. Hap had a column in the local paper featuring visitors to the ski resort. It was a beginning for a budding photographer.

Life changed for Hap when she became a single mom, and so did photography. She moved to southern California and got a job as a Personal Assistant for Charles Eames. Known for his furniture designs and contributions to architecture, industrial design and manufacturing, Charles Eames was also known in the photographic arts.

He surrounded himself with creative and talented people. Inspired and energized by all of the creativity flowing in the office, Hap bought her first Nikon camera from a fellow coworker. She took a couple of photography classes at U.C.L.A and set up a makeshift darkroom in her kitchen. Charles Eames encouraged and mentored Hap. Often spending his Monday mornings before the start of business, reviewing her work and giving her advice on what to improve or change. She learned a lot during her time with Charles Eames, not only about photography and about herself as a photographer.

As a young single mom with a career, she didn’t have the time or the money to pursue the passion for photography, but it was always there, waiting in the wings.

Hap remarried and her husband, Stan, encouraged her rekindling passion for photography.

“I’ve always been interested in wildlife photography, particularly photos from Africa. It was something that always fascinated me and I would dream of going to Africa,” Hap said.

Dreams became reality starting around 1997. With the love and support of her husband, he sent her on her first trip to Africa. Hap saw an ad for a Joseph Van Os Photo safari in a magazine and signed up. Joseph was well known for his tours and he made sure that everyone in the group had a chance to take good photos. A new adventure in photography for Hap.

Adventurous and always curious, Hap found she enjoyed traveling with like-minded souls who had the same interest and it created an intense desire for more.

Since that fateful first trip and with camera and tripod she has ventured the world in search of the next wildlife adventure.

Her passion may be wildlife but her photography has spanned regions, countries, and subjects. While in Africa she photographed villages and the culture of its people. One winter in Quebec, she spent the evening photographing the beautiful architecture. Visiting far away lands or even local scenes, such as, the Palouse, she imagines the beauty with the click of her shutter.

But her true love is the animals. Safaris in Africa, the Wildebeest Migration in Africa, panda bears and Siberian tigers in the remote regions of China, or polar bears in the wilds of Canada and the remote rugged environment of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole, Hap traveled the world in search of the next shot.

Technology has changed over the years and Hap had to change with it. She gave up her darkroom several years ago now, trading it in for the future… digital photography. For her, the equipment was similar, the new challenge was learning the computer and the software associated with today’s photography, determined and ready for the challenge, she plunged into it whole heartedly and eagerly, absorbing as much information as she could.

Photographing for over sixty years now, each shot a new experience, each shot a moment in her life.

Hap’s camera has traveled the world looking for its next prey—wildlife.

Her passion and determination have spanned years and continents, a predator with a lens taking her viewers to the wilds of her creative exploration capturing moments of wildlife in their habitats.

Dreams fulfilled by a woman strong in determination and passionate about making a difference, while doing what she loves.

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Created By
Karla Locke
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