Interview and Photography by Jorge Lara
VIM: How is it going? You recently exhibited your artwork at Randall Bruce's Fine Art Gallery and Custom Framing and Theatre 7. How did that go?
Stephen Campbell: I'm still showing at Randall Bruce's gallery with a portion of my best work on print to date. Theatre7 came to a close a few weeks ago after a two year run. Sales and commission work were good.
VIM: Tell us a bit about yourself. You said that you have been working at photography and music since 3 years old. How is that?
Stephen Campbell: My great grandfather studied with Ansel Adams before I was born. I used to stay with him as a young lad and he started training me to see at 3 years old. Then he bought me my first camera about a year later and the rest is history. I'm retired now so I have the time to pursue my photography and musical passions without time restraints.
VIM: You worked as a studio/road musician for 27 years out of Detroit and have even had supper with the legendary Muddy Waters. How was that experience for you?
Stephen Campbell: After leaving the Army in 1969 I went after my musical passions with a vengeance. The last year of service I was stationed in Chicago and with a friend went to his families home on the South side for supper. His family of course was headed up by the great McKinley Morganfield or Mr. Muddy Waters. Muddy and I had a great visit once I got over that he was just a regular guy, a visit that would change my life and direction.
VIM: You have been together with your wife Edna for 31 years. How has being married to her impacted your art life? How did the two of you meet?
Stephen Campbell: Edna my wife and I met while I was playing a gig in Detroit in 1982. It was love at first sight for both of us! Since I was working in a road band Edna came on the road with me for 3 years before I retired out of the business. She has always been supportive in whatever I choose to do and is actually my right hand in life, great lady!
VIM: You served as a sniper for the U.S Army in Vietnam for 2 years. There is only so much one can learn from history books and movies when it comes to that great war. What was your experience like during your campaign and were there any repercussions?
Stephen Campbell: I served as a sniper for two years traveling through Vietnam. Wars takes its toll on anyone involved and I wasn't any different. When you look into the abyss, it's looking back! I have always been a maverick so that work suited me. I stayed on the road playing music and working in recording studios for 27 years healing my mind I suppose. The experience was one of many that to this day there isn't really a sum total on my life, the juries still out on that one.
VIM: We met a couple weeks ago at our friend's Frankie Darkstar grand opening of his new art gallery and we talked a bit about the finer points of photography and the proper tools necessary to work with. What has been your experience with photography and what would be the most important detail you would tell a novice just starting in the field?
Stephen Campbell: What I would tell a photographer just starting out would be to study light, contrast, and the framing of a subject. Buying a proper camera and lenses that are optically perfect if there is such a thing. Experiment with many subjects until you find what you love to shoot. Mine is landscape above all else as I'm an avid hiker, and love to explore places I've never been to before.
VIM: It's springtime in Las Vegas, any current art endeavors you are working on? What does the future hold for Mr. Stephen Campbell?
Stephen Campbell: As to my future I see more photography and exploring and recently bought my Warwick fretless bass. I'm studying from morning until night on this great instrument. It has the sound of an upright bass as you can hear the wood and minus frets to get in the way I'm working on techniques that will define further a style I started years ago.