The Oklahoma weather might bring rain or clouds or snow outside, but it is bright and beautiful inside one of Samantha Lamb's photographs, where sunlight streams golden through jars of honey, baskets of ripe peaches and strawberries beckon pie-makers and antique books lay open and waiting on a picnic blanket.
“That's how it started out, being my escape. I'm honored when anybody calls it an escape. That's kind of the point. I feel honored that someone would get a piece and bring it into their home and find it pleasing,” Lamb said Monday while standing among a collection of her peaceful, pastoral photos inside Visions Art Gallery in the Paseo Arts District.
“I always like to say love life because if you look around, it's obvious how it aches to love you. ... Why not bring more unspeakable joy into the world if you have the talent to do it?”
Through March 1, the Hobart photographer and boutique farmer has at the gallery an exhibit called “More Bear Than Rabbit, More Rabbit Than Bear: Captures from a Pathless Meadow of a Mind.”
“For years now I've been referring to my mind as a pathless meadow to better explain it to people,” she said with a laugh.
Lamb, 27, will visit the gallery to talk about her photographic style and technique from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday as part of the monthly “Sunday on Paseo Creek” series.
“You walk in this room, and it feels warm in here because of the scenery. She's just done such a great job of capturing the light and the warmth,” Visions Art Gallery owner Glenn Fillmore said.
“The photography, nearly all of it ... is taken on my farm,” said Lamb, looking like a free-spirited milkmaid in a plaid purple and white dress, a white cardigan and scuffed turquoise boots with her blond hair twisted into a braid atop her head.
“I've been in love with the countryside of Oklahoma my entire life, and especially when I was younger, we were inseparable. I was not the kid that was looking forward to watching TGIF (on TV) on Friday; I was the kid that was looking forward to being picked up by my aunt on Fridays 'cause I got to go out to Hobart and visit my grandparents and put on flower dresses and run around in the mud and ride around with Grandpa in his pickup truck and sit on top of the ice cream maker.”
Lamb's heart has always belonged in Hobart, where she now lives in a more than 100-year-old converted schoolhouse on land that her Dutch-German immigrant grandparents homesteaded. But she grew up in Yukon, where her parents still live and raise Lowline cattle.
“They're a miniature breed. When the babies are born, they're about the size of like medium dogs. Pretty adorable,” she said.
The photographer-farmer has an unabashed enthusiasm for the adorable, the pretty and the fanciful that shows in her art.
While pursuing a degree in broadcasting at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Lamb felt the pull of the family farm in Hobart. She started taking a pair of cheap cameras — one digital and one film — out there to capture images she could take back to college.
“The more and more I showed people or posted the pictures here and there, people really enjoyed them. I never considered myself necessarily a photographer, just someone who wanted to keep something that was special to me.”
But after living for six months in Europe, where she took pictures practically nonstop, she decided to get an art degree in photography.
“I knew deep down that I also wanted to combine it with farming: my two favorite loves. That's the joy. My photography and farming are seamless. They go hand in hand,” she said.
“I call it boutique farming. I like to keep a little bit of everything, usually a head of like 10 cattle, a couple of ducks, a couple of chickens. I'm going to be getting into sheep this spring.”
She has a dairy cow that provides her with milk to make cheese, assists a local beekeeper who pays her in honey and recently slaughtered her trio of pie-fed pigs. She collects antique books, which often turn up in her photos, and selects the wood and does some of the carpentry work on her frames.
“I'm definitely a hands-on kind of person. That's the way I learn,” she said, adding that her cousin, aunt and grandmother live nearby and support her farming and photography.
Next month, Lamb will be in the spotlight in the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition's annual exhibit “Momentum: Art Doesn't Stand Still,” a showcase for state artists ages 30 and younger. The multimedia opening event is set for 8 p.m. to midnight March 9-10 at Oklahoma Farmers Public Market.
As one of this year's three Momentum Spotlight artists, Lamb received $2,000 to create an installation titled “Girl Like an Orchid, Orchid Like a Girl.” With the help of carpenter Hugh Mead, she has crafted a massive cedar structure on which she will hang 5,000 antique handkerchiefs that will be illuminated by antique filament bulbs “so that it looks like the morning.” About 40 of her photos also will be on view there.
“Lamb creates a fantastical world where everyday is a picnic and the light always shines like dawn or sunset. Her photographs and objects become artifacts of a beautiful natural life in harmony with agriculture,” OVAC Executive Director Julia Kirt said.
“Lamb's ambitious project shows how artists leverage our awards into outstanding artwork that addresses current life.”
“More Bear Than Rabbit, More Rabbit Than Bear: Captures from a Pathless Meadow of a Mind”
• What: Photographs by Hobart artist Samantha Lamb.
• When: Through March 1.
• Where: Visions Art Gallery, 2924 Paseo.
• Special event: Lamb will appear in the gallery from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
• Information: 557-1229 or www.
“Momentum: Art Doesn't Stand Still”
• Opening event: 8 p.m. to midnight March 9-10.
• Gallery hours: 6 to 8 p.m. March 12-13.
• Where: Oklahoma Farmers Public Market, 311 S Klein Ave.
• Information: 879-2400 or www.