By Kristina Houck
From lampshades to sunsets, local photographer Robert Bejar sees beauty in everything.
“Sometimes you have to get close to something to see what it is,” said Bejar, who lives in Encinitas.
Although he has only worked as a photographer for six months, Bejar has quickly developed his own style. With a low-resolution camera, he shoots photos of both ordinary objects and extraordinary sceneries. He then enlarges the photos and displays them on canvases.
“When I blow them up, you see the image as a painting, not a photograph,” Bejar said. “That’s the beauty of this. It’s all about the color, composition, contrast and how it makes you feel.”
While cooking six months ago, Bejar shot an up-close photo of three beets on a plate. He was inspired to snap even more photos after a friend complimented the shot.
Unlike other photographers, Bejar said he doesn’t stage his shots with lighting and other tricks of the trade. Instead, he captures whatever moves him.
“I take the time to look left or right,” he said. “I’m always in the moment. I’m always very present.”
Bejar learned to appreciate the beauty around him after he was severely injured in a motorcycle accident at 21 years old.
“I checked out,” Bejar recalled. “I saw my life. I saw a big, bright light. I knew I was dying. I saw my body on the ground.”
Initially, he was temporarily paralyzed. With determination and hard work, Bejar learned how to walk again. He was able to walk without a cane in three months. It took him about two years to fully recover.
“From that moment on, you appreciate everything,” said Bejar, who has an adult son. “Certain things in life bring that to you up close and personal again.”
At the time of the accident, Bejar was studying fine art and dance at Arizona State University. After the accident, he used dance as physical therapy.
Bejar later joined a private dance studio in Arizona, eventually touring with the Gary Naylor Dance Company. When he moved to San Diego 34 years ago, he performed with Jazz Unlimited Dance Company, the San Diego Ballet and other local organizations.
For 30 years, he also worked as a personal fitness trainer and holistic health practitioner at a variety of health and fitness centers, most recently at Frog’s Fitness in Encinitas and Solana Beach. For more than five years, Bejar hosted and produced his own local television program, “Just Fitness.” He was also a fitness correspondent for local news stations.
For a brief stint, Bejar moved to Santa Monica and pursued acting. He landed roles in commercials and television shows, but eventually returned to San Diego. Two years ago, he launched a singing telegram business.
Still a part-time personal trainer, Bejar has always had an interest in the arts. He recalled acting, dancing, drawing and singing as a young child. He taught himself how to play guitar and was a member of a high school band called Cast Iron Soul.
Photography is his latest passion.
“It just seems so natural,” he said. “It’s just another natural transition.”
For the first time, Bejar will share his work with the public during his Dec. 14 art show at a friend’s home.
About 30 pieces will be on display and available for sale at the event, which will take place from 2-4 p.m. in Rancho Santa Fe. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Angel Faces, an Encinitas-based nonprofit that serves adolescent girls who have been burned and helps them overcome their scars.
“This is another way of expressing myself and sharing with others,” Bejar said. “I really look forward to showing my friends, my family and others what I’m doing.”
To RSVP for the event and receive the specific event location, contact Bejar at 310-595-5222.