Lori Vetter and Dave Bowers have established themselves individually as award-winning photographers. But they've only just started their journey as a photography power duo.
For Lori Vetter and Dave Bowers, a passion for photography grew their love for each other.
The Palm Coast residents have been married for about two months after knowing each other for the last 2 1/2 years. Their journeys together have stretched from the deserts and canyons of the western U.S., to wildlife across Florida, to a two-week honeymoon in Tuscany, Italy, where they photographed anything but typical tourism scenes.
The pair has participated in many Flagler County Art League photography shows, including the “Picture This!” gallery, which celebrated its opening reception on June 9. There, Vetter won “Best in Show” for an image she took of a nun walking down a dark alley in Cortona, Italy, and Bowers earned first place for a still life photograph he created in their home studio.
“We’re both like kids in a candy store; we just want to try all kinds of things,” Vetter said. “There aren’t enough hours in the day to play around with it artistically.”
But their interest in photography started long before they exchanged vows.
“Since I was a little girl, (my grandfather) taught me fundamentals of photography, and he’d always put his big, important camera in my hands, and I had tons of fun with it,” Vetter said.
“We’re both like kids in a candy store; we just want to try all kinds of things. There aren’t enough hours in the day to play around with it artistically.”
- Lori Vetter, Palm Coast photographer
She went on to study journalism at Loyola University and learned her way around a darkroom. Newspaper and magazine photography became her life’s work, but Bowers later introduced her to bird and wildlife photography.
Bowers served in the U.S. military from 1970 to 1972 in Southeast Asia, which is where he was introduced to photography.
“I took correspondence courses in Tokyo, Japan, with the Nikon School of Photography — just to kind of fill in the empty time,” Bowers said. “And when I got out of the military, I headed back and I said, ‘You know what, I think I might like to try to raise a family with photography.’ My first job was at Madison Square Garden. I said, ‘OK, I’m ready to go.’ After about two years, I found out there’s no money in it; you can’t raise a family in photography. So, I got a ‘real’ job, but that was the beginning of it.”
He taught photography basics to his son but then took a 20-year hiatus from his passion. When the first digital camera came out, Bowers picked it back up and earned a master’s in naturalist photography at Duke University.
“I was just in love with it and pressing forward ever since,” he said.
Bowers is the president of the Flagler Beach Photography Club LLC where he teaches classes to photographers on many levels — with his right-hand woman by his side.
“Just walking with your best friend and your wife down the street and being able to point and say, ‘Oh, look at that tree, the way it’s being blown in the wind,’ and she gets it. Everybody else would look at you like you’re crazy, but we get it and so, as they say, we’re singing from the same hymnal,” Bowers said. “So, yes, it keeps us very nicely together and on the same plane. And she gives me ideas, and she shows me things, and I’m a better photographer for it.”
“And the same goes for him,” Vetter added. “We have a mutual respect for each other — maybe a little bit of competiveness.”