Photography by Ira Gardner | About

Hello, my name is Ira.  Thanks for visiting.  I’m a photographer and documentary filmmaker.  I think I was born into it.  My name literally means, “Watchful and observant”. 


When I was a kid I used to get earaches so my mom and I would stay up really late watching old black and white movies and I think that’s why I still see the world that way and make black and white photographs for most of my personal work.  My father was a photographer and camera repair technician.  I took apart my first camera when I was five.  I spent my early childhood in Los Angeles and I go back there to visit and work as often as possible. 


I try to live my life like I am camping everyday.  A hot mug of tea or cup of coffee next to a fire is all I need to be happy.  I used to climb mountains and before that I was a amateur boxer.  I learned how far I can push myself and I learned to love and respect the people, places, and life challenges that we all face. 


I have a plaque sitting on my piano that says, “We don’t remember days, we remember moments.”  It describes my life’s work.  I appreciate the writings of E.B. White, John Irving, Ernest Hemmingway and John Steinbeck, but lately I am most drawn to the poetry of Robert Frost and W.S. Merwin.  Occasionally I try to write a haiku. My photography is an attempt at poetic realism.


I love to take road trips.  Listening to Miles Davis’s sketches in Spain in the middle of Oregon late at night while driving a convertible with the Milky Way visible over my head was profound.   Sharing a sunset on Pismo beach with hundreds of people who just stopped what they were doing to look westward was sacred.  I love the way these moments help to create an awareness of how connected we all are.


A couple of years ago I took up motorcycle riding.  I bought a KLR 650 and have it equipped to haul my camera and camping gear.   I’ve been exploring the Palouse farm country and Kootenay Mountains.  Seeing Chinese pheasants in a field of wheat and racing ahead of a lightning storm is exhilarating. Recently I saw a huge wolf and a black bear on the same trip.     


I live in a rural area that’s less than 10 minutes away from downtown Spokane.  Our little acre sits on the inflection point between urban and industrial and is part of a narrow green zone  that provides a migratory path for Moose moving down from the mountains towards the wetlands southwest of here.  Last year I counted 26 species of birds hanging out in my yard.  I live there with my life partner Sarah and our border collie named Murdoch.  I am blessed.


I spend a lot of time traveling and journaling.  I also teach professional photography and digital media production courses at a local community college and private workshops at my studio and online.


My latest adventure has been joining an artist collective and setting up a new studio in a historic hotel building next to a live music venue and bar.  It is a very bohemian environment with a variety of painters, photographers, and sculptors. It's a good place to collaborate and create.

If you have a project and need someone to photograph and write about it, call me.  I would love to work with you.


PS - Here is a video about my most recent portfolio of portraits titled "Be Iconic"