Our Spotlight on the Arts is shining brightly on photographer/ photojournalist/ philanthropist Sal Icaza!

Beautiful Southern Maryland has been home to Sal Icaza of Solomons Island Photography for over twenty years. You will often find him, along with his wife Johanna, at Drum Point Beach or Solomons Island when they are not out traveling, photographing, or often writing in Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties.

Sal’s creative passion for capturing a special moment is paramount as a photographer. A self-described perfectionist, he spends his time and talents until the project literally “wows” the client.

“We are unique at Solomon Island Photography in that we prefer a thorough and complete understanding of what it is that they are trying to capture. As an example, we will visit a photoshoot location multiple times to make practice runs at different periods of the day, so that when the actual photoshoot takes place, I am solely focused on capturing emotions and the moments and not as concerned with the environment, nor camera setting, etc. We engage and have loads of fun with the clients during our photoshoots.

We are a boutique in a superior level of service that we provide. We are a boutique in that we offer the highest possible art photography found anywhere, and for us to do that, we only accept a handful of jobs. This allows me to provide all the time and resources needed. Small, intimate events is where I thrive and capture art, and not thousands of repetitive photographs,” said Icaza.

Originally from Nicaragua, Mr. Icaza received his B.A. in English from the University of Memphis, a degree he has utilized well as a freelance photojournalist.  Sal commands a strong following as a photojournalist for his well-thought-out, easy-to-read articles that keep readers looking for his future writings. Much of his work appears online at The Southern Maryland Chronicle and at other media sources.

As a philanthropist, Mr. Icaza founded the Maryland Osprey and Nature Festival in 2022.  This year’s Festival will occur on Saturday, April 1, 2023.  www.marylandospreyfestival.org.

Sal shared a fun video that captured last year’s event:  https://videopress.com/v/TMSEXeb2.

The theme of “EDUCATION. CONSERVATION. CELEBRATION.” was on full display at the festival’s inaugural event in 2022 and will continue to be the pillars of our foundation for years to come.

How did you become interested in photography?

Before I became interested in photography per se, at a very early age, I understood the importance of having memories captured. I left Nicaragua in the late 70s at the age of ten during a civil war in that country, and our house suffered a great deal of damage during the conflict, where all but a handful of pictures were salvaged.

When our family immigrated to the US, one of the first things that I purchased was an instant polaroid camera that served me well. From that day forward, I have always carried a camera with me – one may even call it an obsession.

In the mid 2000’s, I purchased my first DSLR which was a Canon 20D. I was the unofficial team photographer for all my kids’ sports in Calvert County-soccer, baseball, wrestling, football, you name it. I must admit, I used the auto functions only and snapped as many photographs as I could hoping some may turn out ok. Slowly, I began to learn more about the camera settings, its capabilities, general composition, and to learn photography as an art.

Truth be told, I did not begin shooting on manual mode until a few years ago…. that is when it all clicked for me, and photography became art. That is when my work started being recognized.

I was an executive with major hotel chain when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and my job was eliminated.  Thank goodness the year prior to the pandemic we had already started the photography business.  This was our opportunity to do something that we are passionate about and love to do!  We have not looked back since.  We are lucky to pursue our dreams and make them into reality.

My inspirations in photography…

I find a great deal of inspiration from local photographers; we have incredible talented artists right here in Southern Maryland.  Some are better artistically, and some excel technically.  As an example, Mr. Leon Smith is an outstanding local photographer who I rely on for critiquing my work so that I continue to evolve and improve.  Sharon Shifflett has been instrumental in her mentorship, support and encouragement.  Eventually, I developed my own style to the point that people recognize my work without looking at the watermark.

Thank you, Sal, for being a valued part of our artistic community and all that you do for the Maryland Osprey & Nature Festival!

To learn more about our Featured Artist and his projects follow the links below:

Sal’s publications may be found at The Southern Maryland Chronicle and other sources, below are links to a few of his articles:

  • Heroes Honored, Remembered, on Independence Day

Link: https://southernmarylandchronicle.com/2022/06/30/heroes-honored-remembered-on-independence-day/

  • Nicaragua’s Little League Baseball World Series Team Captivated the Baseball World in Williamsport, PA

Link: https://southernmarylandchronicle.com/2022/08/29/nicaraguas-little-league-baseball-world-series-team-captivated-the-baseball-world-in-williamsport-pa-usa/

  • The St. Mary’s County Arts Council – The HeArt of Leonardtown’s “A most exceptional place!”

Link: https://southernmarylandchronicle.com/2022/08/15/the-st-marys-county-arts-council-the-heart-of-leonardtowns-a-most-exceptional-place/

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