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The Big Picture

Local Photographer Captures Small Moments on a Large Scale

Photographs by Barbara Erdmann

Rowayton-based photographer Barbara Erdmann started taking photographs (lots of them) when her children were born. Over time, Erdmann honed her eye, realizing she had a talent for being behind the lens. "Now I look at things differently," she says.

In recent years, the photographer's career has skyrocketed and her large-scale prints can be seen on display and for sale across Connecticut, her subjects ranging from country to mod, intense to whimsical.

For the photographer/mom, family comes first. Erdmann finds striking scenes while on vacation with her husband and three sons. Whether on holiday in Italy, in California or at their ranch in Steamboat, Colorado, her keen eyes are seeking out patterns in nature, pops of color and unusual textures.

Surrounded by horses in the "cowboy town" of Steamboat, Erdmann has the unique opportunity to take her coveted equestrian photos, which require a lot of patience and a bit of luck. "Capturing an animal is truly a moment in time," she says. "They're not going to pose for you."

The artist says it often takes 500-plus snapshots to get the perfect one, but it's well worth it. Ralph Lauren’s Greenwich store is featuring a large, sepia-toned equestrian installation of Erdmann’s in the front window. "It’s so much like Ralph Lauren," she says.

Also find Erdmann's work in select Fairfield County boutiques, including Pimlico, Parc Monceau and Lillian August. "They all have their own take on my work," the shutterbug says. But all the locales share an affinity for Erdmann's head-turning installations, which are printed on special paper and transferred onto Plexiglass for a sleek look with a punch of "wow factor."

Besides a few local classes here and there and a weeklong lesson in Florence, Italy, Erdmann is self-taught. She describes much of her work as feel-good, "take me away" pieces. One example is crowd favorite "Readiness," picturing a beach scene in Positano, Italy. The aerial view features a gorgeous waterfront scene sprinkled with bright orange beach umbrellas.

Erdmann says part of the reason her work is in such high demand is its color, a key factor for designers and homeowners alike. "Orange is hot," she says. "So is turquoise, seen in those vibrant waves. And black and white is having a comeback."

From the beginning, the Norwalk local has viewed her work as a way to give back. She gives a portion of her profits to the Maritime Aquarium. This past summer, ten children were able to attend the center's Sound Scientists camp due to her contributions.

Where does the artist see her business going from here? Erdmann hopes to travel to more exotic locales with her family, but the overall movement is "upward," she says.