David M. Pickett is a native of Shallotte, NC. Since age 7, he has always had an interest in art, beginning with pencil drawings then photography. While in the 7th grade, Pickett received his first camera, a Polaroid, as a Christmas gift from his late mother (known by most as Annie Merle). Prior to receiving a camera, he had spent many nights through the years admiring them in the Sears & Roebuck catalog. Four years later, after taking a well-composed photograph of a college dorm reflecting in a pond in Murfreesboro, NC, Pickett declared, “I must be a photographer.”
Two years before her passing, Pickett’s mother asked him to photograph her. The photograph to the below is the last photograph Pickett took of his mom. Surely, Pickett’s mother admired and supported his passion. Through the 7th grade Christmas gift, it was she who helped him pursue and fulfill the “purpose” that God planted in his spirit before David M. Pickett was even born. This website is dedicated to his mother: Annie M. Marlowe.
As a sophomore business major at UNC-Asheville, David purchased his first 35mm camera, a Canon AE-1, from Asheville, NC native, Matt Gilbert. After meeting his mentor, the late John E. Davis of Asheville, NC, Pickett soon developed a deep-rooted passion for landscape photography. On weekends, Pickett would drive Mr. Davis to various mountain destinations. His job was to carry and watch over Mr. Davis’ photo equipment and hold a reflector board when needed.
During those early photo shoot outings, Pickett was studying Mr. Davis’ every move and silent thoughts. Every now and then, Pickett would take a photograph while with his knowledgeable mentor. Patience, studying the scene to photograph, and reading the light were the most important things Pickett learned from Davis. He also found much joy watching Davis mount his Mamiya C-330 twin lens camera on a tripod. Even close observation of Mr. Davis as he calculated the exposure (by pointing his Gossen light meter at the subject to be photographed) was a delight for Pickett.
Pickett and Davis combed the western NC Mountains for many, many years until several heart surgeries forced Mr. Davis to stop. On their last outing to Linville, NC, Mr. Davis’ walk had slowed to a snail pace. At their shoot destination, Pickett asked Mr. Davis if he was going to shoot. Mr. Davis replied, “No, Dave. You are now the teacher, and I am the student. I am just going to watch you.” A tear fell from Pickett’s eye. At that specific moment, Pickett heard his soul say, “You have come full circle.”
Since the early 90’s, Pickett started refering to his work as “Pictorial Art”, and currently his cameras of choice are his old, but reliable, Mamiya C-3 and C-220 twin lens. Although he purchased his first digital camera (a Nikon D700) in May 2015, Pickett still prefers the twin lens cameras. Over the years, Pickett has photographed a collection of works that he has titled “GOD’s COUNTRY.” God’s Country consists of black and white and color photographs highlighting the serenity and beauty of people, places, and landscapes throughout NC, SC, and VA. He also has a body of works and a traveling exhibit known as “Living Purpose”
Although Pickett is a highly-skilled wedding and model photographer, his heart truly lies in exploring and exploiting the simple, but stunning, beauty of natural light and the outdoors. If you ask him what his favorite photographs are, he will quickly tell you, “Waters Flow”, “Lady Fishing”, “Sacred Light” and “The Angel Walking about the Dogwoods, Rocks, and Pretty Waters.” If you ask him why the latter, he will hesitate but then tell you a heart-touching, soul-moving story about how the Angel photograph came to be.
If you look closely at the Angel photograph, you will see an image that mirrors an angel. Drawn to the scene inwardly, which was off the beaten path, Pickett never saw the angel image during the setting up of shot and while capturing the shot on film. It was not until months later that a Whiteville NC native nearing a heart surgery date pointed out the angel while in Pickett’s office. Mr. Buffkin then said, “I am at peace now. I was worried, but now I have seen my heavenly Angel.” That is how Pickett decided upon the name. Sadly, Pickett learned that Mr. Buffkin passed a few weeks after the surgery.
Pickett believes that before he was fashioned in his mother’s womb, he was chosen to capture the hidden beauty, peacefulness, and love of God’s creations. In other words, he was born and “purposed” to see and capture through photography what others fail to see and capture. Because of folks’ hurried and competitive lifestyles and being out of touch with their spiritual inner self and Creator, Pickett states that more often than none, people fail to see the true hidden beauty and peace of God’s Country.