Balfour Walker grew up surrounded by visual stimulation. He lived on picturesque Pennsylvania farmland and played in his father's Red Barn Studio just behind the family home. As a young boy, he spent many hours watching his dad print pictures and talk about photography. "I didn't know it then, but I was assimilating a lot."
As soon as he took a photo class in high school, the camera became part of his life. "I knew I wanted to be a photographer." Every summer, his family headed West to a dude ranch in Pecos, New Mexico where he rode horses and was immersed in cowboy lore. "I loved the openness and freshness of the West. To this day, some of my favorite photographs are icons of the West. It still has the magic."
When his brother moved from Philadelphia to Tucson, Balfour followed to attend the University of Arizona, where he completed a business degree while exploring and photographing the Southwest.
"Right after college I was hired to go to Europe and photograph car racing. I spent several years traveling the racing circuits and photographing Grand Prix races. I've been a professional photographer ever since," he said. "This is the only job I've ever had in my life. It's a lifestyle. I go to sleep thinking about photography and I wake up thinking about photography. I keep up with the latest trends and technologies. I experiment. I love challenging assignments. This is my passion." After Europe, he made Tucson his home and soon built a solid reputation in advertising photography for his creative approach and attention to detail. His work spans the spectrum -from aviation and architecture to food, optics and people, plus in-studio and on-location shoots.
"I think Southern Arizona is an untapped choice for location shoots. The landscapes are so varied-thick stands of saguaro cactus, rock-walled canyons, lush riparian glades and pine-green forests," he said. "The air is so clear and the quality of light is like nowhere else."
Excelling in the field of Photography
His high-impact photography has won numerous awards, including Addys, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Best of Show, Judges Choice and Prisma. "Especially since the advent of digital cameras - where almost anyone can take a good photograph - it's my opinion that you have to offer something that's far more difficult to do," he said.
"A lot of my work has been with people - because I can get people to relax. I'll do whatever it takes to make sure the person is really comfortable. That's when you can see the spark and make a connection."
Still a motor racing enthusiast, Balfour attends and photographs as many events as possible. He has two grown sons who share his passion for sports and traveling. His interests also include vintage and modern BMW motorcycles (R7S/S and R1100GS, respectively). The modern bike is great for dirt roads - and was the impetus for his marrying Leslie Galloway on a Halloween road trip to west Texas with his brother and sister-in-law.
Balf and Leslie both like to just get on and go! "Ever been to the Shady Dell trailer trailer park in Bisbee, Arizona? You can rent restored Airstream and Marathon travel trailers, complete with vintage 1940s and '50s decor - including the pink flamingos," he said. "Now that's a visual you don't forget."