Craig Stocks Arts Fine Art Photography and Artwork Duplication Services in Peoria and Central Illinois

Craig Stocks' Resume

After working in the newspaper and studio businesses for several years, I chose to leave professional photography in 1977 to pursue a career as a mechanical engineer. Over the years, I retained my interest in photography, and the advent of digital processing rekindled my passion.  I was able to retire at the beginning of 2009 and began an encore career in photography with an emphasis on fine art large scale landscape and abstract figure photography.

Before relocating to Southwest Utah I was active in the local Central Illinois arts community as a volunteer member of the ArtsPartners of Central Illinois marketing committee where I helpled organize the Central Illinois Artist Organization 1st annual CIAO Art Experience and Exhibition. I also publish the Playing Peoria website where I feature photos and stories about local artists and entertainers. I am currently active in the Southwest Utah art community and a member of the Southwest Utah Art Guild.

I've been fortunate to be able to work with the U.S. National Park Service. In 2009, I served as an Artist in Residence / volunteer photographer at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Southern Arizona, and in 2010, I served part time as a volunteer photographer for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco. For 2011, I've been selected as one of two Artists in Residence at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. It's a great way to support the National Park system while doing something I love.

In 2019 we relocated to Southwest Utah where I've been exploring night sky and astrophotography as both a form of science and art. One of my goals is to present astrophotography as a form of fine art rather than science. People can appreciate an image of a tree or a mountain without thinking about botany or geology; we should be able to look at a beautiful image of a nebula or galaxy without thinking of it as simply a scientific image. You can see an assortment of my astro images at the Utah Desert Remote Observatories website's image gallery..

With the help of my wife Deb and our two children, Cassandra and Christopher, we established the Utah Desert Remote Observatories operation in Southwest Utah to host remote telescope installations for astrophotographers from around the world. Click here for more information on our website.


Craig Stocks' Artist Statement

I have a passion to create, and I'm fascinated with the tools and technologies used in the creative processes. My process is to interpret the scene through a combination of camera position, lighting and post processing to present my vision in a way that is graphically simple, technically precise and visually exciting.

I'm old fashioned enough to still view photography as a print medium. A physical print has substance and doesn't depend on other technologies to be enjoyed. It's important to me that my images are ultimately expressed as large fine art prints.

I enjoy learning and sharing. Continuing to learn is one of the most exciting aspects of any hobby, and the rapid pace of change in photography provides a wealth of learning opportunities. I also enjoy sharing what I've learned over the years. That has led to a number of photography and Photoshop tutorials on this website and at the Utah Desert Remote Observatories YouTube channel. I've also been able to provide training and coaching both one on one and in small groups.

Want to know more about me? Check the following links:

Feature article about me in the Peoria, Illinois Journal Star

Article written by me and my wife for Health Care Traveler Magazine

Layers Magazine winner in "How Photoshop CS4 Saved the Day" contest

My complete Personal Vita is available here in PDF format

Xanadu Gallery Studio Artists

Utah Desert Remote Observatories

ViewOn Magazine for Southwest Utah feataure article



I got started in photography in 1970 in a work/study program while a senior in high school. Then, in late 1971, I started working as a staff photographer at the Pekin Daily Times. It was a great place to learn and practice. We had daily assignments to hone our skills. We had the time to experiment. We did all sorts of photo assignments - portrait-style head shots, advertising products and interiors, posed groups, sports, aerials, and of course, news.

Apparently, we were somewhat ahead of our time as well. Today, there are numerous books and websites encouraging photographers to learn about lighting. Most importantly, to learn to use off-camera strobes. Well, we were doing that on a daily basis in the 1970's. I carried four strobes with me to every assignment, and learned to pre-visualize how they were going to light the subject - without the benefit of an LCD on the back of the camera.

In 1975, I went to work for a school portrait studio. The pay was better, but the work was very repetitive. Even doing senior portraits was based on a formula. It didn't take long to get burned out doing the same thing every day.

By the late 1970's, I was married and ready for a change. I went back to school, got a degree in mechanical engineering, and went to work for Caterpillar Inc. During my career at Caterpillar, I worked in a variety of planning and manufacturing management roles, including Planning Supervisor, Plant Technical Services Manager and Plant Manager. I was fortunate to be able to retire after 30 years and go back to the artistic pursuits I had loved when I was younger.

As illustrated in the composite below, I have a variety of creative outlets. I also enjoy music, metal artwork, and the great outdoors. You can read more about my artwork in an article published in the Peoria Journal Star.

Aspects of our lives