Brothers share love of nature through pictures
Young photographers appreciate nature through art
Wading in a swamp for hours may not sound like an ideal way to spend an afternoon, but for brothers Matthew and Aaron Gentry of Waldorf, it’s the best place to be to capture shots of their favorite animals.
“We’ll stay in the marsh for hours waiting for an eagle to take off or to get the right shot,” Matthew, 12, said of the favorite pastime he and his brother share: photography.
The pair frequent spots in their neighborhood and their grandparents’ farm in addition to Nanjemoy and Mattawoman Creek to photograph eagles, hummingbirds and various waterbirds. They’ve also traveled to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park in Utah to capture photographs of wildlife and natural landscapes.
Recently, the charismatic pair sold some of their work at ArtsFest, an annual event in La Plata, earning around $400 which was split between the two of them and their father, Jonathan Gentry, to reimburse the cost of printing materials. But the pair say they see photography as more of a hobby than a money source.
“I like taking pictures because I get to be outside and spend time with my dad and my brother and it’s something different than sitting around in the house all day,” Matthew said.
Matthew and Aaron picked up their photography skills from watching their father, who owns a photography and videographer business called Potomac Media. The boys say they actively started taking their own photos when they were around 7 years old, but have always been involved in the process.
“I’ve been taking pictures ever since I can remember,” Matthew said. “We learned a lot from Dad as far as the technical side of it. Lighting and shutter speed and aperture and things like that. We’ve also helped him shoot a few weddings.”
When they’re not out in the marshes and parks, the boys take pictures at home using bird feeders on their deck to attract avian guests. Two repeat visitors have been dubbed Rufus and Bob by Aaron. The brothers use Canon cameras with a variety of lenses to capture their shots. They also use their father’s home studio and workshop where they can edit and print their photos.
As Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jonathan said photography allows the boys to stay connected to nature and God’s creation.
“We have a belief in a creator and, with that being said, I think it helps us stay connected to nature instead of staying inside and playing video games all day,” Jonathan said.
Melanie Gentry, the boys’ mother, agreed, saying photography allows Matthew and Aaron to “show their creative side.”
In addition to their photography, Aaron, an incoming fourth grader at William A. Diggs Elementary School, also enjoys painting. Matthew, a homeschool student, plays guitar.
“At the heart of it, they seem happy that they’re able to get out and enjoy their life,” Jonathan said of his sons. “This could be something that keeps our family close together and it’s fun.”
Matthew, 12, and Aaron, 9, Gentry take pictures of birds at their Waldorf home. The pair have a collection of photographs they’ve taken
Matthew and Aaron Gentry of Waldorf use Canon cameras with a variety of lenses for their photography. The brothers sold some of their photographs at ArtsFest in La Plata in June.
Aaron Gentry shows some pictures he has taken of his favorite animal: hummingbirds. Aaron, along with his brother Matthew, has a collection of photographs he has taken and sold at arts festivals.
Matthew Gentry displays photos he took of an eagle and a ram on various photography trips. Matthew, along with his brother Aaron, have sold a collection of photographs at arts festivals.