Beauty can be seen in all things
Matt Hardy

Bobby Olstad’s piece Welcome to My World was chosen as the 2022 amateur division Women Empowering Women’s Emerging Woman Artist award in this fall’s Badlands Art Show. Bobby’s love for photography started before the age of digital photography with her first 35 mm camera. Her inspiration at the time was to capture photos of her beautiful baby boy. She took a photo of her baby with kittens that was entered into a magazine contest. Much to her surprise, a friend told her the full color photo was later featured in in the National Enquirer. This was certainly not the audience or publication Bobby intended. She later learned that they had gotten the picture from a published book of the photos from the photography contest.

Busy being a working mom, Bobby’s efforts with photography were more casual leading up to her retirement. She still doesn’t describe herself as an artist. She was a mom, worked in banking and in insurance and wasn’t a professional photographer. Photography was her hobby. She enjoyed the onset of the digital age where she could combine her love for technology with her love of photography. Digital photography captured her imagination with the instant gratification of editing photographs. It allowed her find her own style and learn from her mistakes. She finds photography exciting. It offers her a way to think outside of the box, to see the world a bit differently and then attempt to capture that picture. Photography lets her look for the beauty in mundane things and sharing what she sees through visual art. Bobby can often be seen with two cameras and her cell phone roaming around the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and rural areas like her home place. This winning photograph was actually taken with her cell phone!

Bobby finds photography very enjoyable in her retirement. It’s a great hobby that gets her outside. Every day is a new opportunity to see something different whether it is a new subject or the same subject in changing light of day or the seasons. The winning photograph Welcome to My World was taken at a place she has driven hundreds of time. That day she was headed home into the sunset on the muddy road and something stopped her to take this photo. She posts a lot of her photographs on her personal Facebook page and loves to get feedback. Her current photography challenge is experimenting with double exposures. Bobby says she is still a work in progress and likes learning every day. Thank goodness for women like Bobby who reminds us to keep growing, keep being curious and take risks as she shares herself through her photographs.

Kudos is a program of the local nonprofit organization Women Empowering Women. The program recognizes the good work women do. These are women who’ve lived quietly, joyfully, or creatively to influence our lives. They are an inspiration and deserve to be recognized for their efforts and impact. Women Empowering Women is dedicated to the collaboration of women to meet needs and help women become the best versions of themselves. To learn more, see