As I'm a frequent explorer of the streets of downtown Bend, I walk by Jeffrey's gallery on Minnesota Ave. nearly every single day. I met him simply because of my curiosity to see his work. He's a very kind man and graciously accepted my invitation to participate in this project. Make an effort to visit his gallery. If for some reason you can't, you can see his beautiful work at his website.
Who are you?
I'm Jeffrey Murray. I'm a photographer. I'm a husband. I'm a father. Pretty basic guy... there's not much too fancy about me (laughs).
Where do you come from?
I'm originally from the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, but since then, I've lived all over the place. In Arizona for a while. I lived in Seattle for a while. After that I basically lived on the road for five years straight: traveling the country, going to a new state, every National Park, every day waking up in a new place. That really got me doing photography the way I wanted to do it. I went to school at Northern Arizona University, got my degree from there. Worked for a couple publications out of there - some newspapers and some magazines. And then basically hit the road to photograph the country how I wanted to see it. Put in the time that it took to do it right.
What brought you to Bend?
Through traveling I found something everywhere I went that I liked. I found towns like Bend all across the country. Every state I went to I found something that was worth seeing, worth exploring, worth checking out. I'm from the West Coast, so I spent most of my childhood and younger years traveling the West Coast. I feel at home here - it's where my family is. And to be honest, the skiing brought me here. I'm a big skier. For my style of skiing, it doesn't get better than Mt. Bachelor. Being able to be up there in half an hour and being able to basically see my house from there is pretty nice.
How do you contribute to the community?
I do photography and I love every minute of it, but I treat it like a job. I go to work and I do my job. I take pictures and I do the gallery thing and I go home and I do my family. When I'm not at work, I don't think about work, and, well, when I am at work I do think about my family. I try to find that healthy separation to keep the photography from consuming my life and being my identity. It's basically a job that I take a lot of pride in and really enjoy.
Do you have a favorite memory from here?
I come from a family of five kids. There was one time, recently, (my brothers don't all live here) we were all up here and able to ski together. Me, my brothers Eric, Kyle, and Ryan, and, for lack of a better term, we can ski (smiles). I have a memory of this perfect powder day and we were doing laps literally from the minute they opened until the minute they closed just skiing as fast and hard as we could. Me and my three brothers in a line, going down the mountain, going up the mountain, going down the mountain. I remember skiing and looking and seeing two of my brothers in front of me as we bounced through the powder in the trees and one of my brothers behind me - I turned back and saw him and was a pretty nice moment to be out having one of the best ski days ever with my three brothers that I grew up skiing with but I hadn't skied with them all at once as adults. Being able to go up and spend the day on the mountain as a family. My parents were out skiing, too. But it was pretty fun being able to ski with my whole family.
How do you feel about Bend's growth?
A lot of people have reservations about where Bend is going. I'm not a born and bred, die-hard, keep Bend how it is type of person - I know that's an unpopular way of looking at things. I like Bend. I like towns with growth. Towns are always going to grow. I go to my hometown that I grew up in and it's the same thing as Bend - it's completely different now. I drive down the main street and everything looks different, there's new buildings, and there's tons of people, and there's traffic. It has all the different growth things that any town will have. I have seen a lot of towns growing similar to Bend. I don't see it as a bad thing. I like it. I like the way Bend is growing, that it's catering towards… good people are coming here. Good people are staying here. People love this town. A town can either grow or it can sit stagnant and eventually, sitting stagnant, it will start going down hill. I personally like the way Bend is going. I don't mind the growth. The summer times out here are so fun. The winter times are so fun. People love it. I think we all know why people love it. It's got basically everything you'd want in terms of weather, in terms of recreation, it terms of anything. I don't see any reason to necessarily fight that. Especially because I like the way Bend is growing. I'm not one to have any trouble with people coming in. We all came here at one point. Obviously some people were born and raised here, but everyone's come at some point and there's no point in stopping it. I know that's not a popular way of thinking...
What do you wish for the future?
I have a three-month old son right now so he's pretty much all I think about in terms of my future. I want to provide him the same situation that I was provided from my parents. I want him to grow up and be smart, be kind - all that stuff. I want him to grow up to be a respectable person that people look up to. I want you to one day be going and interviewing him because he did something that you wanted to see. I want him to be ambitious. Basically, right now, my future is one hundred percent getting him locked-in to being a good person. Because we've got enough of the bad people around. I don't want him to be one of them.