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Ron Essex:  Meet the Artist Behind the Camera

Shrouded under a backpack full of lights and lenses and a face hidden behind a camera, the newsboy cap is the only distinguishing mark that lets you know the artist behind the camera is Brentwood’s, Ron Essex.  After dedicating a lifetime to the arts, Ron Essex has brought his artistry to the community and is making a name for himself as the most dynamic photographer in the East Bay. In fact, whether you are looking to photograph a local event, wedding, or capture the beauty of the agricultural corridor filled with vineyards or dotted with cherry orchards, Ron Essex Photography offers the talent, vision, passion, and expertise you are looking for. 

Who Is Ron Essex?

Ron grew up in Ohio, where from a very young age, art seemed to find him.  He talked about how his early elementary school teachers saved book covers that were covered in his art.  He explained that painting and drawing were his earliest passions and taught him the importance of texture, contrast, light, color, and shadowing that set his photography apart from others.  

Ron got into photography as a means to earn an income.  He began working in commercial photography as an assistant and worked his way through lessons, photoshoots, and hours of tedious time on sets to understand the nuances of photography.   

During the week he explored the precise nature of commercial photography from inside of a sterile studio.  However, on the weekends and evenings, Ron began to photograph up and coming rappers in the Minneapolis music scene and skateboarders making a name for themselves.  Ron said the dynamics of photographing products in a corporate studio, matched with the raw energy of capturing images on the street.

Ron Essex Photography

Ron Essex Photography

Coming to California

Essex spent most of his youth in the midwest.  But, he knew that he wanted to move beyond what he always saw to be “home” and see what more the world had to offer.  However, coming to California is also what propelled Essex into photography as a career path. 

When I asked Ron how he began in his career, he explained, “I had to. When I came to California, I lost my easel. My paints. Everything.  All I had was 1 camera. So, I used it.” Ron began working as a commercial product photographer for Clorox. As much as he loved drawing and painting, he knew that to make it as an artist, photography was the option.  Not only is taking a photographer quicker than painting, but there is also demand for commercial photography.

Ron Essex Photography 

Two years ago, Ron made the decision to leave his corporate photography job and go out on his own.  He explained, “I spent many hours on the train out to Oakland reading magazines about photographers, listening to podcasts about photographers, and learning as much as I could.  And I finally realized, “Hey! I can do all of that and then some!”   

Ron made the decision to go independent and started Ron Essex Photography.  Immediately, he realized he could share his art in the community while also helping local businesses, non-profits and telling the stories of the community through pictures.  Ron joined the local Chamber of Commerce and immediately made some important connections that got him to work within the local business and agricultural community. Today, you can see his photographs in the City of Brentwood publications, local magazines, Event marketing tools, and on the walls of many families, newlyweds.  In a few short years, Ron Essex Photography has made a huge imprint of how stories are preserved throughout the East Bay. 

Ron Essex Photography - First Place Delta Art Guild Uncorked

First Place Delta Art Guild Uncorked

What Sets Ron Essex Apart from Other Photographers?

There are undoubtedly many talented photographers in the San Francisco Bay Area.  You might find yourself asking, “well – what make’s Ron different from other local photographers?”  The list, not surprisingly, is quite extensive. 

First, Ron prides himself on his deep background in the arts.  He emphasizes that ‘just taking a picture’ that highlights smiling faces or happy newlyweds is something most people with even just a smartphone can do.  Real photography is an art that includes attention to colors, contrast, shading, and texture. This vision is obtained through the study of painting and drawing and often overlooked by untrained photographers.  

Ron Essex Photograpy - Livermore Valley Wine Country

Ron Essex Photograpy – Livermore Valley Wine Country

Ron Essex Photography - Food Photography

Food Photography

Ron Essex Photography also brings to the table an extensively diverse photography portfolio.  His years working behind the camera at corporate photography studios taught him attention to details that are only visible to this styling of photography.  However, he has an expansive portfolio that includes more dynamics shoots, including events, weddings, concerts, and even portraits. His experience brings flexibility, but also creativity and an ability to think through any sort of photographic barrier that may present itself on set. 

Ron Essex Photography - Weddings

Wedding Photography

An Outsider’s Perspective

Another unique aspect that Ron brings to local photography is what Essex refers to as an “outsider perspective.”  He continues on to explain that we are surrounded by beauty in East County. From the rolling vineyards, cherry orchards, and the people that make the community come together, there is beauty and powerful images full of stories everywhere.  He said, “sometimes outsiders notice things differently than someone who lives in it. For someone who lives here, it might just be normal.” He explains it is his job to show the extraordinary and beauty in everyday life. And once you see the photographs that Ron has to share, you can immediately see the rich stories, landscapes, and people of Contra Costa.  Ron’s images allow you to fall in love with the stories and the people behind the stories that are often overlooked.   

What to Expect Working With Ron

If you have the opportunity to work with Ron Essex Photography, you are in for a treat.  Do not be surprised if you hear him whistling while he works, or smiling through problems he might encounter on set.  He is flexible, calm, happy and a perfectionist when it comes to getting the perfect shot.

Outside of expertise in his art, Ron has a powerful ability to listen to the stories behind the people he is photographing.  This means that when you see one of his images, you can connect with the person and the history that brought the image to life.  

Ron Essex Photography - Agriculture

Ron Essex Photography – Agriculture

Ron has a passion for people, history, and community.  His goal in capturing images of the people, places, and events of the community is to preserve stories and people in a way that transcends spoken language.  He also speaks openly about wanting to give people a voice when they might otherwise be overlooked. This drive for capturing perspective and adding value to the people that make our communities unique allows Ron to present a collection of images that are more powerful than the sum of its parts.  Ron’s photography is more of a moving story than a simple moment in time.  

Where to see his work

Ron’s work can be found woven throughout the community. The most simple way to enjoy his photography is by visiting his website.  He also works extensively with Harvest Time capturing the stories of local farmers and with the City of Brentwood photographing events, parks, and local businesses.  He also has his first major gallery show in at the Delta Gallery in Brentwood, titled Nuestro Terruno, a “Celebration of our agricultural community.”

Ron is also an active and involved member of the Livermore Valley Wine Growing Association and participates in many events they organize. One of their largest and most popular events is Taste our Terroir.  This Livermore Valley Wine Grower’s event brings you the rich wine notes of the Livermore Valley paired with the delicious flavors of Livermore restaurants over a 4-day period.  Ron Essex Photography’s work is also evident throughout the event publications – his images, perhaps, the only ones you can revisit once the last swirl of wine is gone and the last bite of food taken. 

Ron Essex Photography has brought a bold new perspective to professional photography in East County.  Not only has he brought insight, but his skills, experience, and knowledge of the industry will ensure your photographs are stunning. To schedule a consultation with Ron, contact his team today. 

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