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Program 819

1. photographer Bill Fortney
2. naturalist/artist Ray Harm
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Whitley County

For more information:
Bill Fortney, 160 Whirlaway Trail, Corbin, KY 40701, (606) 526-6211
• To learn more about ultralight aviation, visit the United States Ultralight Association.

Producer: Ernie Lee Martin

Photos in Flight

photographer and pilot Bill Fortney

Bill Fortney of Corbin has been a professional photographer, specializing in landscapes and nature, for more than 30 years. Among other accomplishments, he published a book of photos, The Nature of America, that became a best-seller. He also founded a company called Great American Photography Weekends, running seminars and getaway weekends for amateur photographers that offered a combination of spectacular locations and intensive hands-on training.

A few years ago, Bill literally added a new dimension to his own work—the third dimension. Inspired by the movie Fly Away Home, he learned to fly an ultralight airplane. Now he can climb aboard his plane to get a bird’s-eye view of his subjects.

In this profile, we meet Bill in both settings: conducting a seminar at Great Smoky Mountains National Park and taking off in search of more images for his second book, America from 500 Feet.

Since our 2001 visit, Fortney has become a faculty member for Great American Photography Workshops and started work on a “sequel,” America from 500 Feet II.

Bell County

For more information:
Ray Harm, HC 1 Box 930, Sonoita, AZ 85637
Pine Mountain State Resort Park, 1050 State Park Road, Pineville, KY 40977-0610, (606) 337-3066, reservations (800) 325-1712

Producer: Ernie Lee Martin

Painting What Comes Naturally

wildlife artist Ray Harm

Our other featured artist for this program also drew inspiration from Kentucky’s scenic beauty, although he kept his feet firmly on the ground.

As a teenager, Ray Harm really wanted to be a cowboy. At 14, he left his West Virginia home to spend the next several years working at ranches, rodeos, and yes, even the circus. But then, after a hitch in the Navy, he enrolled in art school and found the talent that would make him famous.

It didn’t happen right away, though. Young Ray struggled to make a living as a painter for nearly a decade. His big break came in 1961, when a Louisville man commissioned a series of 20 watercolors of wildlife. Harm moved his family to Kentucky the following year, first settling in Pulaski County. He also founded a company called the Frame House Gallery Publishing Company in Louisville, where he introduced a new concept to the business side of the art world: the production and sale of limited-edition prints from his watercolors. That Ray Harm innovation has since grown into a multi-million-dollar industry that enables painters all over the world to make a living from their art.

Ray spent the next 14 years in Kentucky, painting some 180 works and becoming one of America’s best-known wildlife artists. But he always thought of himself as a naturalist first, and he held several teaching positions in both art and science. He also wrote and illustrated a wildlife column for the Louisville Times, painted the centennial version of its Wildcat mascot for the University of Kentucky in 1965, and was active in the effort to save the Red River Gorge from being flooded by a proposed dam in the 1970s.

In 1969, the Harms moved to Bell County, where the artist lived until moving to a ranch of his own in Arizona for health reasons in 1976. Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Bell County has a complete collection of his prints, scattered among the rooms of the lodge and convention center.

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