Photographer charts new territory in the art of technology

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His client list reads like the “Who’s Who” of Colorado Springs business, past and present: IBM, Rolm, MCI, Hewlett-Packard, Agilent Technologies, Digital Equipment Corporation, TRW and even historic semiconductor pioneer, Cray Computers. And then there are the advertising agencies, the Broker Restaurants in Denver (a 30-year client), the Broadmoor Hotel, area real estate companies, builders and architects who have hired David Beightol to tell their story visually.
But Beightol’s career is not dictated by his past. Committed to the use and incorporation of leading edge photographic techniques and tools, Beightol constantly charts new territory. Juli Jamison, Art Director for the Broadmoor Hotel, has worked with Beightol for many years and appreciates the way he embraces technology innovation. “I can’t tell you how great it is to get high quality displays or images turned around on a tight deadline or to be able to reproduce quality versions of an original slide or photo – at a much lower cost than five or ten years ago. David is always on a quest for the latest techniques and outputs, which helps creative professionals like me. He has never been complacent.”
While Beightol will never abandon a busy commercial business, the innovative photog will continue to expand into the museum-quality reproduction of artwork through digitalized processes. “It’s incredible to see how far we’ve come. I can now transfer a true archival image to 44 inches by 100 feet directly onto canvas. We use a high-resolution digital-back for a large format camera.” To artists, digitalized artwork photography means increased sales since the artist keeps the original work and reproduces nearly indistinguishable versions of the original.
Photomedia is a word of the new millennium. It encompasses the marriage of photography and technology tools and advanced outputs. It does not include your father’s wedding, yearbook or dog portrait clientele. In fact, according to Beightol, he was forced to consider a name change a few years ago as he realized the nature of his business was changing for good. The company’s name will change again to Beightol PhotoMedia and Digital Art Center to capture his latest move to stay abreast of an increasingly sophisticated market.
“So much of my work today must be reproduced for web sites, brochures, advertising or displays. Digital photography allows me to take my clients’ concepts and translate them into consistent images that tell a story,” he said. “Whether the subject is high tech chip manufacture or software development – or the food feature in a glossy magazine – an image speaks to you in ways that words can’t.”
Beightol’s fascination with electronics started at an early age (at age eight or nine, the future photographer’s bedroom featured a dial-up lighting system with dual controls). The product of a military family that traveled all over the world, he also grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, Denver and San Francisco prior to settling down in Colorado.
“I received an art scholarship to the University of Southern Colorado after I got out of the service,” he said, “and had planned to focus on sculpture, ceramics and painting, but I started using the camera more and more.” Burned out after taking a double major in theater and biology, Beightol finally decided to leave college and enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
It was during two years of active duty that he studied cryptographics and repaired electronic hardware and radar systems. “Fortunately, my time in the Navy served as a bridge in my life’s education,” he said. “I learned how engineering and technology were used to transfer a concept into a photographic image – and translated later into taking a microscopic chip, for example, and turn it into a dynamic image that told a story.”
To illustrate, Beightol shows off a poster-sized glossy image for LSI Logic, depicting the company’s microchip technology. According to Jon Carlson, LSI Logic Storage Senior MARCOM manager, Beightol is at the top of his craft. “His ability to create photographic assemblage pieces that depict an array of technical images is tremendous,” Carlson said. “He not only captures a digital image – he has an artistic eye as well.” LSI Logic has used their photography (all digital – no film) both at national trade shows like COMDEX and for display in the company’s lobby.
While Beightol possesses a skilled eye for composition, lighting and artistry, he also is a confessed extrovert who loves conversing with clients and colleagues. From famed photographer, Albert Eisenstaedt to technology pioneer, Seymour Cray Beightol delights in sharing perspectives with fellow innovators. This perhaps explains the long relationships he has maintained with clients up and down I-25 and the Garden of the Gods corridor who depend on his expertise.
In addition to his regular clientele, Beightol also makes time to help area community service organizations. Winner of an Addy Award for his work with Goodwill Industries, the photographer also recently had his pro bono work on a Pikes Peak Hospice fund-raising slide show submitted in a national competition. The busy owner also is constantly pursuing additional education and accreditation in his field. “With the Digital Art Center, I can begin training additional employees to learn the technology,” he said, “while moving on with other long-range goals, including my own artistic projects.”
The Beightol PhotoMedia and Digital Art Center studio buzzes like a beehive of activity with clients stopping by, curious interns asking questions of their busy mentor, and with projects piled in every corner of the front office and work areas. “If you’re not on the bus, you’re under it,” Beightol said. “My dad always said that, and it’s so true of my business. If I’m not pushing myself to learn about the latest tools and if I don’t stay up with technology advances, I’ll lose my edge.” One thing is certain: in a growing sea of “visual competition,” David Beightol is solidly on board.