1984 was a pivotal year for me, I spent the year working for John Oliver, a Professional Photographer in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Francie and I were married the same year and in 1985 we spent 6 months hitch hiking through Europe before flying to the US where we bought a 73 VW Beetle and for six months traveled 36000 miles through 41 States. I carried 32 pounds of camera gear and took thousands of photographs in both 35mm and 4×5 inch which I developed in converted bathrooms along the way.
In 86 we returned to the family ranch where we bred Bonsmara cattle and expanded the family business. In 1999 we moved to the UK where we opened a chain of small restaurants selling traditional savory pies. My passion for photography was still strong and so we traveled and photographed at every opportunity. By then I had made the move to Digital Photography.
Now based in Gunnison, Colorado, we have our own Gallery and Studio space in this beautiful area. Gunnison is a place that inspires me deeply and it continues to feature in my images.
In my photography, I attempt to recreate what I see and feel at the time of taking the image. It is not a literal reproduction of a scene but rather an expression of my experience at the time of making that image.
Growing up in Africa has given me a special way of looking at life and a special understanding of the purpose of life. Allan and I arrived in Gunnison, Colorado after spending 9 years in the UK, for the winter of 2008-09. At the time we did not fully realize what brought us to this special valley. It is only now, almost 9 years later that I realized that listening to our intuition was the right thing to do. We were meant to be in Gunnison- an area of intense vibration and energy- this time and this space has given both of us the opportunity to develop our own inner grace and passion.
Before coming to Gunnison I followed Allan all over the world as he photographed the world, yet all that time I never felt the need to pick up a camera except for a few family snap shots. I have always loved and shared Allan’s art. Suddenly during the winter of 2012 I felt a need to take and create my own photographs and so I began to accompany Allan’s photographic shoots, this time armed with my own camera. Being exposed to Allan’s passion for photography for 31 years gave me a good understanding and appreciation for this magical art form…a way of sharing the beauty around us. Photography, for me, is a way of reproducing not only the scene as I saw it but also the feeling, the very sixth sense of that moment.
Allan, as always has been an incredible teacher and guide and has encouraged me in this path. Five years down the line, I still have much to learn. I believe that being able to be part of this artistic process has helped me remember who I really am, it is a journey that has helped me make that connection with Spirit and with Universal Love and so share it with you.
Kim grew up in Gunnison and went to college at Western and graduated with a BAF with a Business minor. Working with pencil and paint Kim creates exquisite art, some of which can be purchased from the Gallery from time to time.
Kim worked for the Johnson Gallery for several years till it was closed. Kim started to work at Open Your Eyes Gallery when it opened in May of 2015. Her attention to detail can be seen in every piece that we produce in the studio.
Driving down Gunnison’s Main Street in that winter of 2008, this three story building stood out and enthralled us. Allan’s first words about it were: wow that would make the perfect Gallery Space- the light would be awesome in there with those big windows and we could live upstairs! This became a reality seven years later. We moved into the building in January of 2015 and opened the doors of the gallery in May. We live upstairs on the third floor leaving two floors for Gallery space. The building came with a one story building to the north and this has become our printing Studio and Frame shop.
229 N Main, a three-story, brick structure with a rectangle floor plan was built in 1882. The building was one of the first permanent masonry commercial structures in Gunnison’s downtown district. It was constructed by Milo Matteson to house a retail store, operating under the name of Shilling and Company. In 1889, Matteson sold the building to Herman Webster, who ran a business there until his death in 1920. The first floor was used as a retail facility, while the second floor originally served as living space for the proprietor and the third floor served as a social hall for various events. The building later became the Gunnison Hotel and the second and third floors were converted to hotel rooms.
The town of Gunnison boomed in the 1870s as mines were dug in nearby mountains. It is believed that among the area’s residents was Wyatt Earp, who lived outside Gunnison in 1882 and 1883, after the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Ariz. Earp ran a faro game at a Gunnison saloon which we have been told may have been right here in this building.
The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
Today, the Open Your Eyes Gallery is a showcase for photographic work by Allan and Francie Ivy. All printing, matting and framing is carried out in house. We offer a number of photographic services such as printing, finishing, framing, portrait sittings and photographic workshops. The Gallery now also feature the work of 18 local artists.