Photography by T. L. "Tom" Cubbage II

Getting to know the photographer

About Tom Cubbage:

The Man Behind the Camera"

"Tom, a Self-Portrait"
(Santa Fe, NM, 1995) 1997 Tom Cubbage

My Life As A Photographer

I was born in Oklahoma in 1939. Several years before that my father had embraced photography as a serious hobby. By the time I was in my early teens I had a camera of my own, and was learning the technical craft of photography. Everywhere we traveled as a family I took scenic pictures. I also began to do portraits. My sister and her friends, and my girlfriends, were my first models.

In the summer of 1957, just graduated from high school, I left for a summer of travel in Europe. I had two objects in mind: take photographs and climb the Matterhorn. Did both. (Click here to see images from Summer of 1957). I wanted to be a commercial photographer in those days (the images I saw in National Geographic and Arizona Highway had a strong effect on me). Alas, it did not happen. Instead, I first took a business degree and then one in law.

In May 1965, after a year of private legal practice, I began a six year career as an officer in Army Military Intelligence. During that time I used my photographic skills in professional and personal ways. (Click here to see images from Vietnam 1967-68.)

From 1971 to 1992 I was a corporate attorney and that gave me the opportunity to travel extensively in the US and abroad, always with a camera or two at hand. Taking an early retirement in mid-1992, I began to think about really getting serious about photography. At last I had the opportunity to pursue the creative path that had been a life-long dream. I opened a studio and began to do some commercial assignments.

In the beginning I began to imitate the style of others whose work I admired. However, by mid-1997, I had come to an understanding of my personal style and vision. (Click here to see my Vision Statement.) To learn more about the spiritual side of my life and its influence on my vision as a photographer see my More About Tom page.

In July 1997 I was asked by a friend, why I liked to do female figure work. I explained my sense of artistic vision in words that made sense to me. But, a few days later, while reading Southwest Art, I discovered my belief explained in a more concise way. The words of the painter Steve Hanks perfectly sum up my feeling about why I like to photograph women.

"People often ask me why I paint so many women." Hanks said, "The answer is that these are not simply paintings of women. They are paintings of emotions. Men are taught to not show their feelings, to project a certain preconceived idea of masculinity. Women express a far more subtle range of intimacy and vulnerability and they carry more storytelling ability, more magic in them." -- Steve Hanks, quoted in Southwest Art, August 1997, p. 34.

I had felt this, and knew it intuitively, but Hank put it perfectly into words.

In 1997, in my studio I began to explore new directions which incorporated a new way to use light, motion, and fabric. That work led to the "Dances with Ghosts" and "Maenads" series. When those experiments were finished in September of that year I closed my studio. In September of that year I also journeyed to Santa Fe where, in collaboration with model Patti Levey, I created the "Dreaming of Georgia" series.

In the last quarter of 1997 I devoted my energy to the publication of my virtual gallery website.

During the years 1998–2000 I did very little shooting and worked only four times with figure models. That was a time of reflection and study. It was also a time for experimentation with several Olympus digital cameras, and with the computer manipulation of images. In that period I began to explore new ways to see imagery with an eye to working with photos in terms of computer enhancement. (Click here to see examples at New Directions 2000.)

Early in 2001, I purchased an Olympus C-2100 Ultra Zoom digital camera. Throughout that year, and into the next, I did numerous portrait, portfolio, and figure shoots using that camera exclusively. My experiments in image enhancement and printing refinements continued. In May 2003 I purchased an Olympus C-5050 to increase my capability to do detailed digital photo work. In August 2003 I added to that capability with the acquisition of a Canon EOS 10D digital camera (one that I can use my Canon lens with).

In February 2004 I began a ten-week course of study with Doug Henderson called Photoshop Now. I decided that the time had come to take a formal course to bettwer enable me to use Photoshop CS. While I was generally familiar with ways to edit images for printing and web use, I needed to have a better understanding of the full editing power in the Photoshop software. By May 2004 I was also using Dreamweaver MX 2004 to create and edit web pages.

By the Fall of 2004, I will be ready to begin another major expansion of my virtual gallery. This bag in September with the migration fo the site from which has been my host since 1997 to a new server site and new doman name URL, namely (hosted at

My Workshop Experiences

In 1995 I decided that in order to find and understand my vision and voice as a photographer I needed to partake of the workshop experience. Best move I ever made in regard to my photographic career.

The Santa Fe Photographic & Digital Workshops was the closest to my home, so I decided to go there and see what workshopping was all about.

In June 1995 I studied with Joyce Tenneson in her class titled "The Figure Study and Portrait Workshop."

In July 1996 I studied with Greg Gorman in his class titled "The Nude Portrait."

In late June 1997 I studied a second time with Joyce Tenneson in her class titled "The Evocative Portrait." During that workshop week I had the opportunity to do a portrait of Joyce. (See portrait).

What a wonderful experience these classes were. The workshop staff and facility is great. Santa Fe is truly an enchanted place, and the light there is to die for. Check here for Santa Fe Photographic & Digital Workshops Information.

Here's Bartlesville, Oklahoma, USA (in Green Country)

"City Skyline"
(Bartlesville, OK, 1996) 1997 Tom Cubbage (TLC0117)

What sort of town is Bartlesville, Oklahoma?

"When I see Bartlesville, and its towers, I think of Florence, and the Medicis." This was how the common-man philosopher, and frequent Bartlesville visitor, Eric Hoffer saw this city. Hoffer remembered the Renaissance — the intellectual and artistic movement that was born in Florence at the beginning of the 14th century, and spread across Europe under the patronage of the Medici family. What he really saw when he looked at Bartlesville was another city alive with the best of the Florentine traditions. The arts — all kinds — continue to flourish here.

Text and image: 1997 and © 2004 by T. L. "Tom" Cubbage II - All Rights Reserved

Click here to return to the Top of the page.

Click here to lean More About Tom and his spiritual side.

Click here to go to go back to my Home. or Introduction pages.

Click here to go to my Portfolio Index or Guest Artist Index or General Index pages.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

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This page was first published on 11/5/97.

Updated 5/2/2005, at 20:45 hours CST, by Webmaster Tom Cubbage